India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday declared himself a “representation of new India”, forever ready to take up challenges with optimism, as he responded to Greg Chappell’s view that he is “the most Australian non-Australian cricketer of all time”.
On the eve of the first Test against Australia, Kohli was asked about his aggressive brand of cricket coupled with a fighting attitude that the former Australia captain, who also served as India coach, found similar to the mindset of his countrymen.
“I would like to say that I have always been myself,” the skipper said during a virtual media conference ahead of the opening Test against Australia here starting Thursday.
“The way my personality and character is, I am the representation of new India. For me, that’s how I look at it,” he asserted.
“In my mind, it’s not (about) being compared to the Australian mindset as such. It’s how we have started to stand up as the Indian cricket team and my personality has been like this from day one” he added.
“The new India takes up challenges and is filled with optimism and positivity. We make sure that we are ready for any challenges that come our way.”
‘Rahane will do a tremendous job in my absence’
Virat Kohli on Wednesday backed his deputy Ajinkya Rahane to “do a tremendous job” in leading the side once he goes on paternity leave after the first Test against Australia and described their relationship as the one built on “trust and mutual respect”.
Kohli will head home for the birth of his first child after the day-night game, starting on Thursday, leaving Rahane to captain the side in the remaining three Tests.
“Well, firstly we had a lot of mutual understanding and respect over the years, we have had some great partnerships batting together which is based on trust and understanding on what needs to be done for the team,” Kohli said when asked how he sees Rahane faring in his absence.
“Jinks has done a tremendous job in the two practice games, the tour games that have happened and he seems to be very composed and he knows the strengths of our team and how we need to go about things,” he said.
Kohli made it clear that Rahane will certainly follow the template set by him and there is no ambiguity as far as both of them are concerned.
“…we already know the template that we play with and how we want to go about things, so we are absolutely on the same page and I am sure he will do a tremendous job in my absence as well,” the skipper seemed very confident.
“…the focus remains till the time I am here is to be able to provide, you know, captaincy and leadership and performances as a player to the best of my abilities and from then on, I am pretty confident that Jinks will do a tremendous job.”
Kohli is confident that Rahane will stand up to the occasion executing the collective vision of the team.
“I have said this previously as well that I feel like this is his time to really step up and perform strongly as an individual and then as a captain as well,” he said.
“I think, he will do a great job when I am gone back home, so we are on the same page completely and the vision remains simply to put in good performances and make sure that we are competing every game and the idea is to win the series,” he added.