India Test skipper Virat Kohli heaped praise on limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Friday, saying that he would like to acquire the composure and ability to not panic in pressure situations from the iconic wicketkeeper-batsman who led the country to the 2011 World Cup triumph.
Kohli, who recently led India to a comfortable Test series-win against visitors South Africa, believes the 2007 World Twenty20-winning captain Dhoni has achieved all milestones in his illustrious career.
“I would like to learn more of the composure from Dhoni. Also his ability to not panic in pressure situations is something I would like to take from him. The World T20 win in 2007 was the launch of Dhoni as a leader. The way he led the young bunch of players like Rohit Sharma, S. Sreesanth and others was really praiseworthy. From there on, he became the big figure of captain not only in India but also in the world,” Kohli said at a function where the schedule for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 2016 was announced.
“He (Dhoni) won everything as skipper, leading the Test side to World No.1, ODI No.1 and T20 No.1. He has nothing left to achieve in his career. I have been watching him for a long time and I admire him a lot for what he has done for the country,” the 27-year-old said.
India will launch their World T20 2016 campaign in Nagpur against New Zealand on March 15, while it will go head-to-head with arch-rivals Pakistan in Dharamsala on March 19. Its other matches will be against the Group A (Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Ireland and Oman) winner in Bengaluru on March 23 and Australia in Mohali on March 27.
When asked about which teams he would like to pick as favourites for the tournament, Kohli played safe, mentioning that the event will be an open contest and the team playing better cricket on a particular day will win.
“Any team is favourite if the team is on form on the particular day. Any team could be the favourite. Last year, in Bangladesh, we could not win the final against Sri Lanka. We hope to keep things simple this time around and hope we will come out victorious. Watching India win the 2007 World T20 was a different experience. It was a milestone. It was really a proud feeling for the entire nation then and from then Indian cricket took off to different heights,” he said.
Kohli said South Africa’s hard-hitting batsman AB de Villiers will be one to watch out for.
“One batsman we can watch out for is de Villiers. I have been a great admirer of him for long. He has done all things right in the past three years. After playing alongside him in Indian Premier League (IPL) for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), I got to know him more,” he said.
“Other young players should learn from him how to apply themselves in different situations. Like he can play a sparking, swashbuckling innings, he can also play a composed slow innings, like he did in the Delhi Test,” Kohli observed.