Elated after his debut assignment as captain ended in the India under-19 team winning the tri-series Down Under, Vijay Zol says he wants to emulate senior side skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Zol led the Indian team from front to win the triangular series in Australia, remaining unbeaten all through. He was adjudged Man of the Series for his brilliant performance with the bat.
"We have been following the senior team`s performance in the West Indies and that really inspired us to do well. The way MSD played in the final, it`s a lesson for every captain. He always performs when the team needs. He is a great reader of the game and I am a fan of his temperament," Zol told PTI-Bhasha in an interview.
"If I can become even half of what he is, it will be more than enough for me. He is an exemplary captain and a wonderful batsman. The best part is that he knows how to handle the pressure. Youngsters like me can learn a lot watching him play," he said.
Giving credit to the entire team for the triangular series triumph, Zol said it all boiled down to soaking up the pressure.
"We had worked really hard at the NCA for one month prior to the tournament and left no stone unturned. Players had gelled well and that reflected in their performance. This win came with the whole team and support staff`s efforts," said the youngster, who was the top-scorer with 293 runs in five matches including a century.
"I was captaining for the first time and it was the first ever tournament for most of the boys but they responded well. Beating Australia in their den was special and our mental toughness was the key to our success," he added.
Zol conceded the team was nervous before the final against Australia.
"Naturally there was some nervousness. I told them to promise themselves to give 100 percent without thinking about winning or losing," he said.
He is happy with his performance with the bat but insisted that it just the beginning of a long journey.
"I am happy that I could lead from the front. But this is just a beginning. Obviously like any other cricketer it is my dream to play for the senior team but I am not thinking about it right now.
"My focus is on forthcoming Sri Lanka tour and I want to continue the winning streak," he said.
He is in awe of Virender Sehwag`s aggression and Yuvraj Singh`s fighting spirit but it is Sachin Tendulkar`s passion and longevity that completely bowled over Zol.
"No one in my family is into any sport but my father understands the game very well. I am playing since the age of seven. When I was a kid, I have seen the craze for Sachin throughout the nation and that inspired me to be a cricketer," he said.
"I like Sehwag`s aggressive style of play and the fighting spirit of Yuvi. The way he made a comeback after the battle with cancer is commendable. Michael Hussey is also one of my favourite cricketer," said Zol.