India’s stand-in-skipper Virat Kohli is facing baptism by fire in the first Test against Australia in Brisbane next month, but former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin feels the result of this one match should not be the basis for passing a judgement on his leadership skills.
“You should not be very judgemental about Kohli for this one Test. Because one should understand that he got the captaincy by default because Dhoni is injured. So I think that we should not judge him on just a single Test. We should leave him alone, let him enjoy and let his bat do the talking,” Azhar told PTI in an interview.
Confident of the Indian team’s chances in Australia, Azhar said the Indian squad looks much better than the Australians and should win the Test series.
“I think we have a very good side and I will be very unhappy if they don’t win against Australia. I don’t think the Australian side is as good as it used to be, say 2 or 3 years back. Except for Warner and one or two players, they don’t have too many players who can make a difference. India, on the other hand, have a good bunch of players,” he said.
Azhar, who captained the Indian side in a Test series in Australia in the run up to the 1992 World Cup, opined that once again, playing a series before the showpiece event is a positive sign for the team.
“You get used to the wickets of Australia, the conditions, so I think it’s a good sign. You should take it as a positive and never take it as a negative,” he said.
The team though did not do well in the fifth edition of the World Cup and many attributed the debacle to the scheduling of the Indian tour, Azhar, however, dismisses the assertion.
“It’s a good thing that they will get used to the conditions. I think India will get a chance to best utilise the conditions before going into the World Cup,” he said.
Impressed with the Indian bowing attack even without Zaheer Khan, Azhar said the key to the bowlers doing well on Australian tracks would be “fitness”.