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Kohli ready for captaincy test

- ‘Have to be ready to take all the praise and criticism’
Virat Kohli, in Dhaka, on Sunday

Calcutta: Virat Kohli, India’s stand-in captain, has said that his temporary role does not have the added pressure that MS Dhoni faces on a regular basis as the team’s leader.

Kohli was speaking in Dhaka on Sunday, after the team reached there for the Asia Cup, according to espncricinfo.com.

Kohli was appointed captain for the Asia Cup after a side strain ruled Dhoni out of the tournament, beginning on Tuesday. This will be his third leadership stint, after the tri-series in the West Indies and the ODIs in Zimbabwe last year.

“I don’t think this is anything compared to what he has gone through in the past few years,” Kohli said.

“I am captain for just one tournament. It is completely different from regularly captaining the side. When you win, you’re praised, when you lose, you’re criticised. It is all a part of it.

“I am not in a position right now to experience all that. I have got this one-odd opportunity like I did in the past as well. I am sure it is a very tough position to be in. You have to be ready to take all the criticism and praise that comes your way.”

In the past, Suresh Raina, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag have captained India in limited overs in Dhoni’s absence. Gambhir won all six of the ODIs he captained in 2010 and 2011, while Raina won four of nine ODIs and all three T20s in which he led the side. Sehwag led India to victory in seven of the 12 ODIs he captained and the sole T20.

Kohli, who stepped in as Dhoni’s replacement during a tri-series against the West Indies and Sri Lanka, began with a loss but has since then won all seven matches he has captained.

These numbers are minor when compared to the 159 matches that Dhoni has led, with a success rate of 55.34%. Kohli will lead a young side with only a few members as experienced or as successful as him in ODI cricket.

He said he wanted a smooth communication channel with the players, which he believed would help him understand them better.

“I have only been captain for about eight games till now,” Kohli said. “It went pretty good but this is a big tournament. It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to. We have got a young group of guys and some exciting players.

“I think it excites me to have a group that I can have a chat with and be on the same page. It’s important to have an understanding. It’s really exciting for me to improve the record which is already good. I’m looking forward to the tournament.”

Asked about the match against Pakistan on March 2, Kohli said the focus was on winning the Asia Cup.

“Obviously we are here to win the tournament. We haven’t just come here to play one game and go back home, that’s not our aim.

“Our aim is to win every game that we play. A game against Pakistan is always a hyped up game for us, obviously a big pressure match. But we take every game the same way.”