Former India cricketer VVS Laxman has said that Virat Kohli is still a work in progress as skipper but hailed the numero uno Test and ODI batsman for not letting the burden of captaincy hamper his showing with the willow.
India have arrived in Australia as a No.1 ranked Test side. However, they still have a lot to prove outside the subcontinent. Kohli’s side lost 2-1 to South Africa earlier this year and then suffered a 4-1 series defeat in England this summer. Both series losses came despite Virat topping the run-scoring each time.
"Virat knows he missed a great opportunity in South Africa and England because the Indian team was more superior on both occasions than the opposition. He knows his team has got the potential to go out and beat Australia in Australia. Kohli will be focussing on that and thinking positively about the challenge down under. He won't be thinking about the if not's but will be thinking about how his team can beat the Aussies," Laxman told India Today in an exclusive chat.
"Virat Kohli's performance speaks for itself. Even in the first Test match he captained in Adelaide in 2014 he went for the win and I was happy with the approach he showed. That also shows his personality which is very positive, aggressive and he is always looking to create an impact.
"That attitude has rubbed on to the rest of the boys. With more success on overseas tours he (Kohli) will gain more experience as a captain. I definitely feel he is a good captain in the longer version. He relishes challenges and loves the responsibility. I have seen some captains succumb to the extra pressure but in Kohli's case it has enhanced his performance and his reputation as a batsman since the time he started leading the team. I believe he is a good captain but still work in progress," he added.
It is impossible to not bring Laxman’s iconic 281 into the discussion while interviewing him. India were forced to follow on after getting bundled out for 171 in reply to Australia's first innings total of 445. It was then Laxman and Dravid produced two of the greatest Test innings ever that helped India to notch up 657/7 (declared) in the second innings.
While Laxman batted his way to a marathon 281, Dravid scored a spirited 180 with cramps. The duo batted the entire fourth day adding 335 runs and their eventual stand of 376 carried India from 254/4 to 589/4.
Recalling that unforgettable day, Laxman said: "What really went through my mind was to just go out and play to the merit of the ball. It was a great learning experience for me and the entire team during that (Kolkata) Test. Till the time the last ball is bowled or the last run is scored, never give up.
"When you are in that position you don't think about the future or the result. All you can think about is being in the present, focussing on the process and play each ball on its merit but at the same time show a lot of self-belief in your abilities. Only then you can play your natural game.
"What I enjoyed about that knock was I went out and played my natural game. I should also thank Rahul for the grit and determination he showed during that partnership. He was also down with viral fever before the Test and he had a tendency of cramping but he endured all that pain. We kept on motivating each other. From that day onwards be believed that nothing is impossible," he concluded.