Virat Kohli on Monday received a ringing endorsement of his leadership from teammate Ravichandran Ashwin, who said he was on par with some of the greatest captains in the game. Recently, Kohli’s captaincy style was questioned by Graeme Smith. On Monday, former Royal Challengers Bangalore and South Africa coach Ray Jennings said the Indian captain can be intimidating in the dressing. Ashwin, however, came out in strong support of the 29-year-old. “This (South Africa tour) is his first series overseas as a full-time captain. I am sure all the best captains in the past too have a set of home games. He (Kohli) is already on par with most of the greatest captains that have played the game. It is best that we give credit to him,” Ashwin told reporters after Tamil Nadu’s opening match against Gujarat in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Ashwin described Kohli as a captain with a fierce winning mentality, adding that his positive body language always rubs off on the other players.
“He is someone who will go for a win come what may. He does not have a negative bone in his body, he always talks about a win, never about saving situations, we’re always moving ahead. It is good because the players know what is required from them. It gives an amazing amount of intensity to the team,” Ashwin said.
On the recently concluded Test series in South Africa, of which he was a part of, Ashwin said that he had achieved what he wanted to, though he would have liked to have got a few more wickets.
“On a personal account, I would say I batted beautifully through the first two Test matches. If I had just held myself when the second new ball was taken I could have made a massive difference. I felt a little disappointment for that. But in general that was my role in the game, I had to counter-attack and I felt that way.
“As an individual who went into that series, whatever I wanted to achieve I did achieve. Probably a few wickets lesser than I would have ideally liked. A few dropped catches, which is part of the game,” he added.
He also felt that the series was closely fought despite the result going 2-1 in favour of South Africa.
“I feel the series was very very close and it was on the line. In fact, even at Cape Town and Centurion till the last ball was bowled we probably were in the game. Probably, Centurion a little bit earlier. I thought we played really good cricket,” Ashwin said.
“On both the occasions, if we had won the toss it would have made a massive difference. As a team we really played well in South Africa. It gives us a lot of impetus going into the England series,” he added.
Ashwin hailed the manner in which the team played in the final Test at Johannesburg and said India deserved to win.
The off-spinner, however, refused to comment on the pitch controversy in Johannesburg, saying he was not part of the game.
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