Coach says Virat is a natural leader

“Challenges bring out the best in him as he is an aggressive person by nature and also one who loves responsibility."

Kohli will lead India in the Asia Cup as Dhoni is injured. (Getty Images)

New Delhi: On a day when Mahendra Singh Dhoni was ruled out of this month’s Asia Cup with a side strain and Virat Kohli named skipper, his coach Rajkumar Sharma said that his ward was a natural leader and ready for the job.

While critics have often said that Kohli is too young to lead the national team, his coach believes age shouldn’t be a criterion when it comes to picking a captain and that his ward has already proved himself whenever given an opportunity.

“He is ready to take up the challenge of captaincy. I don’t know where all these talks of age comes from as he has already proved himself, not only as skipper of the Royal Challengers Bangalore, but also as India skipper, whenever Dhoni has been injured or rested,” Sharma told MAIL TODAY on Thursday, the day BCCI announced Dhoni’s pullout.

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“Challenges bring out the best in him as he is an aggressive person by nature and also one who loves responsibility. It is just that he is happy to wait for his time and I feel that is a good thing. Till the time Dhoni is leading the team, he can keep learning from him,” he said.

And Kohli’s records bear testimony to the fact that he loves the challenge of leading the pack. In the eight matches in which he has led India, he has scored 332 runs at an average of 66.40, including two hundreds and one fifty. The team has won seven of those matches and lost only one.

While critics have often said that Kohli would be an even better cricketer if he could remain calm rather than getting worked up — when provoked by opposition players — his coach begs to differ. Sharma feels that Kohli is in the Javed Miandad mould and being provoked on the field brings out the best in him.

“I strongly feel that Kohli’s forte is being aggressive and when the opposition tries to put him down or provoke him, he comes back at them stronger. He reminds me of Miandad. In fact, Kohli has himself often confessed that it eggs him on when the opposition players are breathing down his neck and he thrives in those tense circumstances,” Sharma said.

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