Stand-in skipper KL Rahul on Tuesday said India did “some phenomenal things” under Virat Kohli, who has raised the bar for everyone in the team during his seven-year tenure at the helm. In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Rahul is leading the team in the three-match ODI series against South Africa, starting on Wednesday. “Look, Virat like I said under him,Team India has done some phenomenal things, we won a series outside of India, which hadn’t been done before. We have gone to every country and won a series, so he has done a lot of things right and he has already set a standard for all of us and team India,” Rahul said during a virtual press conference on the eve of the first ODI.
Last Saturday, Kohli dropped a bombshell by announcing his decision to quit Test captaincy, a day after India suffered an unexpected series-defeat against South Africa. Kohli signed off as India’s most successful captain with 40 wins from 68 Tests after being given the reins of the side in 2014 when M S Dhoni stepped down during a series against Australia.
Rahul said the team would look to build on the legacy created by Kohli. “I think it is all about for me or for the group going forward is to build on that and we obviously know what it takes for us to be champion team. So just to keep improving as individuals and trying to stay as disciplined and as determined as we can and go out there and enjoy your cricket,” added the 29-year-old right-handed batter.
According to Rahul, he would like to emulate Kohli’s ability to get the best out of his teammates. “When it comes to leadership, Virat had this amazing ability to get the best out of everybody, he pushed everybody and you know made us believe that we can do special things, so that is something I have learned from him, and hopefully, I can do that with the team as well,” added Rahul.
Arguably the biggest ambassador of the five-day game, Kohli took India to new heights in his tenure, which saw the team become a force to reckon with in all conditions. Rahul, who captained India in the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg, also felt that the self-belief within the team is largely due to Kohli. “The things I have learned from Virat regarding captaincy has been the whole world knows how passionate he is about Test cricket, and in general about cricket. And he has led from the front, he put a lot of changes in the team.
“The current winning belief, which is there in the team, (it) is largely because of Virat as a leader and he has made us believe in ourselves and believe that we can go outside of India and beat any team. So, I want to continue that and obviously build on it and get better as a team,” said Rahul. This is the first time that Rahul is leading the side in a full series.