India in Zimbabwe 2013 July 20, 2013

Kohli backs young squad ahead of Zimbabwe tour

ESPNcricinfo staff
63

Virat Kohli is upbeat about taking on the ODI captaincy for a full series for the first time during India's tour of Zimbabwe later this month, and is confident of his young team's chances.

Under the new selection panel, India has begun to phase out several senior players - the recent Champions Trophy success was achieved without the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan. On the Zimbabwe tour, it will be an even more inexperienced team as India will be without the services of regular captain MS Dhoni and frontline spinner R Ashwin. The squad will also be missing regular players like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma.

"I don't think experience matters, especially in [the] limited overs game," Kohli said at a promotional event in Mumbai. "You need eleven players who are hungry for success, who are hardworking and whose vision is victory. All fifteen players are strong and it is a strong unit, which is good."

India are currently the No.1 ranked ODI side, and have convincingly won four of their last five series. "If we continue this way, it will be a good time for Indian cricket. It would make a lot of people happy."

Kohli was previously the stand-in captain after Dhoni injured his hamstring in a match against West Indies during the recent Tri-Nation series. He has plenty of captaincy experience, having led India to the Under-19 World Cup title in 2008, Delhi on the domestic circuit and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.

When asked whether he was fazed by the expectations and pressure of leading the Indian team, Kohli said: "I always like to lead form the front and set an example for whoever is playing with me or around me. I like taking responsibilities. That is a natural thing for me."

Kohli was also happy that allrounder Parvez Rasool was included in the squad, the first cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to be selected in the national team. "It is a good sign that players are not just coming from major cities. You can see everybody is working hard and the thinking is not narrow-minded. If he gets the opportunity to play a match then I am sure he will try to give a good performance."

India take on Zimbabwe in five ODIs in a series starting July 24.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on July 23, 2013, 6:20 GMT

    It would be a tough series especially for people who would want to blast the opposition out.Zimbabwe without any renowned players also is always HANDY at home.Team who knows how to grind, will succeed there. Out of the top 4 batsmen from India who scores run in the series is a good prospect for Test. Looking into condition, I am looking forward to Pujara, Kohli,Karthik to build the innings.Pitches in Zimbabwe would be spongy one and hitting out won't be an option.It would be good to see who plays the specialist spinner. Mishra/Rasool?

  • sulav.dahal on July 23, 2013, 4:44 GMT

    @Ramit Jain, you are only partially correct ! I guess, Kohli implied to the fact that you can play on your own way in ODI (and much more freely in T20), unlike Tests which really tests players, and now testing inexperienced Australian test players in the Ashes. Above all, U-19 team of India can compete well against national cricket team of Zimbabwe, I can predict ! And, you don't need likes of Dhoni, Yuvi, Zaheer to win against such weaker side. Last but not the least, I agree fully on your last sentence : Kohli will learn captaincy only by gaining some experience. He is a bad captain now, at least for national team. We can't always presume him to be a good captain looking into his U-19 captaincy. Anyway, best of luck!

  • sulav.dahal on July 23, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    @Ramit Jain, you are only partially correct ! I guess, Kohli implied to the fact that you can play on your own way in ODI (and much more freely in T20), unlike Tests which really tests players, and now testing inexperienced Australian test players in the Ashes. Above all, U-19 team of India can compete well against national cricket team of Zimbabwe, I can predict ! And, you don't need likes of Dhoni, Yuvi, Zaheer to win against such weaker side. Last but not the least, I agree fully on your last sentence : Kohli will learn captaincy only by gaining some experience. He is a bad captain now, at least for national team. We can't always presume him to be a good captain looking into his U-19 captaincy. Anyway, best of luck!

  • class9ryan on July 23, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    The Indian spinners- Mishra, Rasool have to up their skills as it won't be easiest of conditions for them. They have to know the skill to push the ball as well in the conditions which wouldn't turn.

    Rahane potentially does not find himself in the playing xi. One among Rayudu, Pujara will be the man to miss out. But it should be a serious opportunity for the Indian top 3 to icrease their averages

  • dummy4fb on July 23, 2013, 1:48 GMT

    I seriously think Rahane should be given more chances than Rohit!! Rohit has a very high inconsistency in the past. No sure how long this form he is in will sustain. Rahane is a more technically sound player. Let see!!

  • Sunil_Canada on July 22, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    My team for 1st ODI - Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli, Pujara, Karthik, Raina, Jadeja, Rasool, Kumar (Vinay), Sharma (Mohit), Unadkad. Extra - Rayudu, Rahane, Mishra, Ahmed

  • Cricfever_PM on July 22, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    This serious is experiment to create backup bowlers!! I gues either Mhit Sharma/Jayadev will emerge from this serious!!! Pujara should use this opportunity to seal the place in ODI team hope he will fill that ideal No.4 for long time!!!

  • Nampally on July 22, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    India is fortunate to have enough talent to put 2 different squads which can perform equally well because of vast available talent. India has produced 5 batsmen to take over from Sehwag, Gambhir, Sachin, Dravid & laxman in shape of Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Kohli, Pujara & Karthick/Tiwary/Raina. The Aussie team is in a slump after the retirement of Ponting, Hussey, Symmonds & Gilchrist. So Indian squad for Zimbabwe is just as good without the first team stars because there is a big line up waiting for their chances. Rassol & Nadeem as replacements for Ashwin & Jadeja are just as good spinners. Now is their chance to show their talent. Also with new bunch of pace bowlers in the squad, India need to find replacements for Ishant & Yadev, both have become rather erratic & uneconomical to earn a well deserved rest. I am sure the team will do well in Zimbabwe as well as in the SA tour under Pujara. It is great to try Kohli & Puijara as potential captaincy replacements for Dhoni when he retires.

  • TM on July 22, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    Indias future XI for me in Tests is: Dhawan jiwanjot singh(young punjab opener) pujara kohli rohit rahane/jadeja ashwin bhuvuneshwar ishant umesh