With Virat Kohli returning to India after the first Test of the four-match series in Australia, the Indian captain on Wednesday put his weight behind Ajinkya Rahane to deliver as the leader of the group for the remainder of the Border Gavaskar Trophy.
Kohli will lead India in the first Test match starting in Adelaide from Thursday and then return home for the birth of his first child. Ajinkya Rahane, the vice-captain of the Test team is expected to lead India in the remaining three matches and Kohli had no hesitation in backing him to keep the team going in the right direction.
“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 in the pre-match interaction with media when asked how the transition is going to be.
“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.
“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 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.
“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. 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,” Kohli added.
Earlier during the Australian summer, former India coach Greg Chappell had called Kohli the “most Australian non-Australian” cricketer of all time and thanked the sport’s “most important” figure for championing the cause of the Test format with his “all-out aggression”.
Responding to what it meant to be called that, Kohli said that he is a representation of New India.
“I would like to say that I have always been myself. The way my personality and character is, I am the representation of new India. For me, that’s how I look at it,” he said.
“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.
“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,” Kohli added.
Kohli said that India’s past performances in Adelaide won’t matter because this is going to a different ball game. He said India must remain in the present and not look back or look too far ahead.
“Pink ball Test is probably going to be more challenging in terms of conditions. The focus will be understand the difficulties and counter as best. Have to play our best cricket to win,” he said.
Watch the full press conference here: