India captain Virat Kohli said he has already achieved what he wanted to as a leader, saying he has done his job in the transitional phase since he took over as captain from MS Dhoni. In an interview to Dinesh Karthik for Sky Sports, Kohli pointed to the ‘culture and environment’ that has become the norm in Indian cricket as his legacy.
Karthik asked: “hypothetically, what’s the legacy you want to achieve as captain when you look back at 50"
“In my mind, I have already achieved what I wanted to as a leader. Which is to create an environment and culture where people strive for excellence everyday. When I see us practising now, every session that we play, no one is wasting their time on the field. That for me is so, so important because I’d rather have an hour of quality practice and I’ve done everything that I have to do, rather than lurking around for 2 to 2.5 hours and fooling around for an hour in between. I don’t see anyone doing that anymore.
“It’s absolutely precise and professional. At the age group level, you know that if you want to play for India, you got to be fit. You need a certain fitness level. Fsat bowlers coming in now are ready to bowl 20 overs, easy. They’re fit, hardly have any niggles.
“I feel I have done my job in the transitional phase. After MS (Dhoni) left, cricket evolved. It changed, the pace of the game starting moving notches higher and we moved with time, stayed up to speed. The results in the last 5-6 years are there for all to see. We’re one team which everyone is wary of when we travel. That’s all that I wanted to see as captain."
Kohli also spoke about his habit of reaching out to youngsters within the team.
“If you told me I have to walk away from this game tomorrow I can walk away without any regrets. Because everything that I have done since I entered the Indian team has always been for the team," he said.
“The reason why I reach out to the youngsters is because I don’t want them to waste months and years of their life like I wasted as a youngster, still trying to figure things out. I found out the formula for success and what it means to succeed at this level, I want these guys to pick it up early so that the transition with Indian team can be smooth. It should not take the youngsters 2-3 years after the seniors have gone to build the team again. So I want them up to speed immediately when we are almost about to step out so that Indian cricket stays on top.
“It doesn’t matter if the guy bowling has 130-140 matches experience and you’ve got 4. If you have more belief than him on the day, you can outplay him. That’s what I’ve tried to inculcate in their minds. That don’t let the norms of playing 30-40 games and gaining experience fool you. Because even if you’ve played 80-90 games and aren’t in a good frame of mind, you’re still going to nick the first ball to slips. So this is a game that has to be played in the moment, one day at a time.
“That’s why I talk to them about the things I did wrong when I came in. Don’t play for proving people wrong, don’t play for stuff that does not matter. Which is England tour, tick mark, Australia tour, tick mark. It doesn’t matter in the end. Did you step on to the field absolutely fearless? If you did and you’re failing, no problem at all. It just wasn’t meant to be for you. So don’t play for wrong reasons."