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Dhoni-Yuvraj will feed-off each other: Virat

Newly appointed India Captain Virat Kohli honoured to lead the team across all formats

MS Dhoni handed over the limited-overs captaincy reins to Virat Kohli a few days ago. Virat, who has been India’s Test Captain since December 2014, took up the challenge when it was unexpected and has proved his mettle not only with his cricketing acumen, but also with the willow. He is ready for challenges coming his way and is also honoured to be the full-time captain of Team India.

“I am pretty ready and accepting of taking captaincy in all three formats. I feel honoured. It just gives me more opportunities to take Indian cricket forward, which I think is the best thing to happen to anyone.”

The limited-overs captaincy transition has been smooth and Virat feels the same as he talks about the lessons that he has learnt from Dhoni, the captain. “I’ve learnt a lot from MS Dhoni ever since I came into the team. Many people have different styles of captaincy and I feel that he has been extremely successful because he was able to find the right balance in being offensive with his plans, as well as understanding the game and slowing it down when it was being dominated by the opposition.”

Elaborating further on Dhoni’s batting position in the team, Virat explained, “Now knowing that I’m willing to take up more responsibility, he can be more expressive. But I'm not saying that he will go out there and slog every ball. He’s a smart cricketer and we’ve all seen that.

“But, I think he’ll have a bit more freedom and a bit more assurance knowing that he doesn't have to think twice before attempting a big shot. With Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) coming back into the squad as well in the middle overs, both of them will look to feed off each other’s’ momentum and can play the aggressive role.”

Virat’s success as the Test captain came under more limelight with India reclaiming their No.1 position in the ICC Test rankings. Ask him about his feelings going into the series as a full-time captain, he says, “The kind of cricket we have been playing and the manner in which we have performed in Test cricket, I think we can execute and replicate the same in the shorter formats as well. Like MS said, it’s easier to lead a side in ODIs than in Tests because in Tests you have to be constantly aware of not letting a session run away, because it can eventually impact the outcome of the Test match. In one-dayers, there is more scope for the opposition to commit mistakes, so you can come back into the game even without pushing too much. Honestly, I don’t feel any different. The only thing is I am excited that when I will walk out for the toss tomorrow, I will be India’s full-time captain. Apart from that, I don’t think anything has changed mentally or in terms of environment.”

With a solid top order and world class bowlers lower down in the line-up, Virat throws light on the concerns in the middle order, which were discussed during the team selection. “Yes, that is something we had discussed before picking Yuvi because we cannot have so much burden on MS alone in the middle order. I am willing to take up responsibility up the order, but there needs to be one more guy with him down the order in case the top order doesn’t fire. If the top order doesn’t fire, you are left with MS alone and he is guiding the youngsters often. It is fine if you have 15-20 games till a big tournament, but when you have only three games to prepare for a big tournament, I think you need to get all your resources in place. You need to make sure the guys who have been picked are in good form.”

Rajlaxmi Arora
Rajlaxmi Arora

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India beat Sri Lanka U-19 by 34 runs to win Asia Cup

Skipper Abhishek Sharma (4/37) led from the front as India colts registered win in the Colombo thriller

India showcased a clinical performance to beat hosts Sri Lanka by 34 runs and lift the Asian Cricket Council Under-19s Asia Cup title.

Batting first after winning the toss, India Under-19s posted a competitive 273 for eight in their 50 overs and then rode on its spinners fine bowling effort to bowl out Sri Lanka Under-19 to 239 in 48.4 overs at the R Premadasa Stadium.

Prithvi Shaw (39) and Himanshu Rana shared a solid 67-run opening partnership. Rana, who had scored a fifty and a century in the league stages, continued his great form to notch up 71. He was given good support by Shubhman Gill, who smashed 70 and shared 88-run stand for the second wicket.

At 203/2, India were staring at a total of over 300 but some disciplined bowling from the Sri Lankans resulted in just 70 runs in the last 10 overs. Nipun Ransika and Praveen Jayawickrama picked up three wickets each as India ended up on 273/8.

For Sri Lanka Under-19s, pacer Nipun Ransika (3/50) and left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama (3/53) shared six wickets between them.

Chasing 274 runs for win, Sri Lanka Under-19s lost opener Vishva Chathuranga (13) early before Reven Kelly (62) and Hasitha Boyagoda (37) stabilised their chase with a 78-run second wicket stand.

Skipper Kamindu Mendis (53) also made half-century for the Lankans in the losing cause. The hosts at one stage were in control of the chase at 196 for four in 37.4 overs. As the match progressed, Sri Lankan lost the plot in the last 10 overs as their last six batsmen could contribute just 43 runs.

Abhishek Sharma (4/37) produced a brilliant display of slow left-arm orthodox bowling and was assisted by leggie Rahul Chahar, who returned with impressive figures of three for 22 from his quota of 10 overs to dismantle the Lankans.

Brief Scores: India 273/8 (Rana 71, Gill 70; Ransika 3/50) beat Sri Lanka 239 by 34 runs (Kelly 62, Mendis 53; Sharma 4/37).

Man of the Match: Abhishek Sharma

Man of the Series: Himanshu Rana

BCCI Staff

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