Amid much speculation on MS Dhoni’s new role in the India cricket team, captain Virat Kohli said the roles and responsibilities between him and the former skipper were crystal clear and understood by all.
The Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) had announced MS Dhoni’s decision to step down as limited overs captain of the India cricket team on January 4, after which there has been much speculation about the role of the selection committee in his decision and what role he will play in the team.
Addressing the assembled reporters at the pre-match press conference on the eve of the first ODI match against England in Pune, Virat Kohli made it clear that he valued Mahendra Singh Dhoni as a player and that his knowledge will make the former captain a great asset for the future.
“Dhoni was successful because of his offensive style. His views will be priceless but I will do my own preparation. We both understand that,” Kohli said, making it evident that the new captain across all formats is confident of the responsibility put on his shoulders.
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I am ready, not thinking about the burden at all. Leading India gives me more opportunities to take Indian Cricket forward: @imVkohli
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“I am delighted to be given the captaincy in all three formats. I don’t think it is a burden. It will just make me better. I would like to take the bulk of the responsibility now and let others express themselves freely,” he said about his new role.
“I don’t think anything is different. Everything is as usual, nothing in my mind has changed… just that I’ve been made the captain.”
He also added: “Dhoni will have a bit more freedom and assurance.”
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In reference to the use of the Decision Review System (DRS), which India has mixed fortunes with in the past, Kohli said Dhoni’s position on the field of play will be vital when judging whether to make a review call or not.
“I will trust Dhoni’s word the most in DRS because he is in the best position to judge whether it (the ball) has hit in line or not,” Kohli added.
All players of the India squad did not train in the morning session. However, Kohli put aside any injury concerns, saying the call for not all players to train was solely a management decision.
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Kohli is set to lead the side into the next big ICC tournament — the 2017 Champions Trophy — which will take place in June.
In Kohli’s opinion, the three-match ODI series against England is a dress rehearsal for the international competition and the squad has been assembled keeping that in mind.
“We are taking these three games as knockouts. We are not taking these games as trial games. We cannot experiment much before Champions Trophy.,” he said, adding that “this English team is fearless in limited overs cricket.
“We need to get all our resources in place before the big tournament (Champions Trophy) coming up. And that is why Yuvraj (Singh) has been brought in,” Kohli said.
Yuvraj Singh has been included in the India squad for the first time since December 2013. His father Yograj Singh said Yuvraj’s nclusion in the team has come as a direct result of Dhoni stepping down as captain. Yograj believed Dhoni was responsible for Yuvraj’s exile from the national team for the last few years.