Mumbai, July 20 -- Virat Kohli has been a revelation since his India debut five years ago. His ability to play with aggression and daring has helped him become one of the best limited overs batsmen in the world today. As he prepares for his first tour as captain, in the ODI series in Zimbabwe, Kohli showed aggression off the field as well.
Speaking to reporters at an event on Friday, he minced no words while describing players who have brought the game to disrepute. Indian players have been mired in the spot-fixing scandal as well as doping.
"In the game of cricket, a hero is one who respects the game and a villain is one who corrupts the game and must be punished. If you do not respect the game that has given you everything then it is wrong. They should be punished and they have been punished in the past," he said. "This (doping) is not at all acceptable. Whoever doesn't respect sport, corrupts it, should be handed the harshest punishment."
Benefit of doubt
However, he said athletes could also take banned substances by mistake. "You may have taken an antibiotic but if it has a banned substance, you will test positive. You may not know about it."
Kohli is confident in his ability to lead a young side. "I don't think experience matters, especially in the limited overs game. You need 11 players who are hungry for success, hard-working and whose vision is team victory. It is a strong unit, which is good. We need to keep winning, and continue making people happy."
The 24-year-old added: "I like to always lead from the front and set an example for whoever is playing with me or around me. I like taking responsibilities. That comes naturally to me.
"The best quality is not to be afraid of anything. Even if you have seniors or players with lot more experience in your team, you need confidence in your ability and think you can lead them. It is important you set an example with your performance quickly and then you gain respect," he added.
The top-ranked Indian in the ICC batting rankings said he always looked up to Sachin Tendulkar. "My superhero is Sachin Tendulkar, will always be for life. I used to dream of playing for India, the way he single-handedly won matches for India made a big impact on me. While we were playing in the 2011 World Cup final, I remember him getting out. I walked in and felt alone against the opposition. It was then that I felt I needed superpower as well," said Kohli.
On the selection of Jammu and Kashmir player Pervez Rasool, Kohli hoped he makes an impact. "It is a good sign players are not just coming from major cities. You can see everybody is working hard and the thinking is not narrow-minded in India. If he gets an opportunity to play, I am sure he will try to give a good performance."
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.