Like Dhoni, you don’t need to be a captain to lead, says Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli

Former Indian captain Virat Kohli, whose stepping down from Test captaincy recently triggered a lot of talk, feels that one need not be in the post of a captain to lead the team, and cited MS Dhoni as an example.

Kohli, after having stepped down from ODI and T20 captaincy, announced his decision to leave the top post in Tests too after India lost 1-2 to South Africa in the recent series.

According to reports, his equation with the BCCI officials is said to be a key reason for the fallout. Over the last year, his batting also has suffered, triggering talk of his role in the team.

“See, I think firstly you need to have a complete understanding of what you set out to achieve and whether you have achieved those targets or not. Everything has a tenure and time period, so you have to be aware of it. As a batter, you might be able to give more to the team, so take pride in that,” Kohli said on an episode of ‘Fireside Chat with VK’.


“Communication is the most important thing, you cannot cut someone off saying I do not need your point of view. You can respectfully say I am in a good space and if there is help to be taken, then I will reach out to you. That sort of balance has worked out for me,” he said.

On the captaincy aspect, he said: “You do not need to be a captain to be the leader. When MS Dhoni was in the team, it was not like he was not the leader. He was still the guy from whom we wanted to have inputs. I have played under MS Dhoni for a while and then I became the captain, my mindset has been the same all this while. I always thought like a captain when I was just a player in the team.”

Kohli also added that moving on is also a part of leadership, “to understand the right time to do that”. “I think one has to embrace all kinds of roles and opportunities.”

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As captain, Kohli has led India to 40 wins, including 16 away victories, in Test matches, the most by an Indian captain.

“I think, it is very important to be aware of what you think about yourself. At the end of the day, if you have more responsibility, you know you can have a different vision. So you need to stay true to yourself. If I know my game is not where it should be, then I do not need someone to push me, I am myself aware of it,” said Kohli.

“To win or not win is not in your hands. The striving for excellence and to be better every day, is not something you can do short term. When it comes to a culture, it will last beyond your playing years and your responsibility,” he added.

Kohli also said that he focused on bringing about a culture of winning in the team.

“Culture is a very difficult thing to change but I have experienced in any field in India it is important to set the culture from the top and that is how things have had an impact in our society. When I became the captain, my focus was on cultural change.”

“I knew we do not lack in skill, I was thinking about maximizing the talent to its potential. I wanted to not confine my vision and if you want to expand it, then you need culture. Culture requires you to work hard every day. It is a constant process, culture is more important than strategy. As a captain, I was more focused on trying to bring in a culture of we are capable of winning from anywhere,” he added.