Spin great Harbhajan Singh said on Monday that India Test captain Virat Kohli had played a key part in shaping the present team, adding the national team needed more players like him to take them forward.
With 33 wins, Kohli is India’s most successful Test captain of all time, and with him in charge, the team accomplished many firsts. From winning a Test series in Australia to having England on the mat earlier this year, Kohli transformed India into a formidable unit.
“It suits perfectly actually and we need players like him in the team who can take the team forward. When team used to go to Australia, they used to think about how to save the Test match. Under Virat’s captaincy, team goes to Australia thinking how they can win the Test series,” Singh said.
The India great, who announced his retirement last Saturday, recalled one of his conversation with Kohli during the 2014 tour of Australia.
“I remember in one of those series, where he had scored a lot of runs, although India had lost the Test series. India had to chase some 400 runs in that match and Kohli had scored a big century. So when he returned to the pavilion I told him that match could have ended in a draw, but he replied: ‘There is no importance of a drawn Test, either you win or you lose and the day we learn to fight, we will learn to win and someday we will,’” Singh recalled.
“And that is the change you have noticed in this Indian side. They went to Australia and beat them twice, they played well in England and I hope they beat South Africa in this series. So Kohli has perfectly played his role as a leader. Had he been soft like MS Dhoni, I don’t think he would have scored these many runs.”
India did lose that series in 2014 where Kohli had taken over the captaincy from Dhoni following his shock retirement post the Adelaide game, but four years later, he led the team to an historic Test series win Down Under – India’s first ever win in Australia. The team repeated the feat in 2020/21 series, despite missing most, if not all, their regular players