New Delhi: New Test captain Virat Kohli today laid out his ambitious vision for the Indian team, saying he wants to create a side which can dominate world cricket for the next five years at least.
Kohli, who was handed the Test captaincy after Mahendra Singh Dhoni retired following the third Test of the four-match series against Australia in January, said he wants to create strong friendship in the team.
Virat Kohli. Pic/ AFP
"I strongly want to see the Indian team dominate for at least five or six years," Kohli told ESPNcricinfo's digital magazine in an interview which will be published tomorrow on the Cricket Monthly site. "We certainly have the talent. We certainly have the ability. All that it will take is how you manage that and keep them together," he added.
Laying down his vision for the side, Kohli said: "I want to create strong bonds. I want to create strong friendships in this unit. "We live 250-280 days a year together so I want to create such an atmosphere where in the next ten years watching it from outside you would get to know this team is a united team. This team is a strongly knit unit. They want to play for each other. They don't want to play for themselves. That is my vision."
A firm believer in playing aggressive cricket, Kohli said he wants to free his team of doubts or insecurities. "We like playing the same brand of cricket," Kohli said of the team he resumes taking charge of with the tour to Bangladesh later this month.
"The thing that I want to do and I can do in Test matches is free them from any kind of doubt. Free them from any kind of insecurity... On the field if you see them (Australia) play you feel like, damn, that's a unit, we really have to play our bloody best to beat these guys. I want that to happen to Indian cricket.
"In Test matches we want to be the team to beat. It is just the mindset, sometimes we tend to go into that zone where the thinking is not right," he said. Talking about self-belief, Kohli said: "Not many people understand the kind of things I have seen in life at a very young age. Maybe that is why I believe in myself a lot. I think if I did not have belief, I would not be able to build my career all these years.
"Bad times will come but it makes you want to look forward to the good times that lie ahead, as well as appreciate the good times that you have had in your life and career. Respect the bad times when they come and not be broken by it," Kohli added.
Kohli had scored 692 runs in the four Tests during India's last tour of Australia and talking about the series, he said, "I remember about two months before that tour I started building the kind of mindset I wanted to have in Australia: it was all-out aggressive.
"I knew that I wanted to go out there and take on these bowlers because there is no way if I keep on struggling for runs I would be doing justice to what I wanted to do. Eventually I had visualised it so positively, so strongly, when I went out there my body just followed what my mind had stored two months back."
The 26-year-old faced a lot of criticism after he failed in the World Cup semi-final against Australia with critics also questioning the presence of his girlfriend Anushka Sharma during the campaign.
Hurt and disappointed, Kohli slammed the critics during an event for his IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League. "I do not want to force anyone to respect our lives or force anyone to behave in a certain way. That is not in our control. I made that statement because it is very important for people to understand how we feel," Kohli said.
"If people choose to behave in a manner where you are burning effigies, it is very important for people to understand that we have families, our families feel bad. We have people who are emotionally attached to us. We are not all alone in the world. We are human beings with emotions, feelings. I wanted to put out there how I feel," he added.
In 33 Tests, Kohli has scored 2547 runs at an average of 46.30, while in one-dayers, he has featured in 158 matches, amassing 6537 runs at 51.47 average.