Virat in the Right Phase to Take Over from Maahi : Ashwin

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Chennai : India’s ace bowler Ravichandran Ashwin on Friday hailed M S Dhoni as an illustrious leader and said a lot of leadership lessons can be learnt from him.

He also said Virat Kohli, who will now captain the Indian team in all formats, is no less a player and in the right phase to take over.

“I think he (Dhoni) is going to be available as a player, his career was wonderful and illustrious. As a captain there are lot of leadership lessons from Dhoni for even big leaders out there,” he told reporters here.

Answering a question, he said,”if you ask if anyone could match or deliver his (Dhoni) level of achievement, it is going to be a herculean task, definietly it is not going to be easy.”

Asked how did he see peforming as a bowler with Kohli as captain, he said he was looking forward to it. “It is going to be an exciting phase, it’s all about working out togther hard and testing times…he is someone who looks out for suggestions,” the present top ranked Test bowler said adding Kohli evolved game plans ahead.

“It is a wrong question to ask if someone will come to go forward (after Dhoni). Somebody will come. Virat Kohli is no less, if you look at his last one year’s Test performances.

He is in the right phase to take over. Only looking at it, I am sure, MS has thought to pass the baton on (to Kohli),” he said.

Again, in a question related to Dhoni’s decision to quit as captain of limited overs formats, Ashwin said, “It is an individual decision. I do not know if there is any use I am talking about it. It is a professional world, I cannot give any suggestions.”

He said,”I think we are getting into an emotional battle, it is an indivdual call, I think, we have to respect it (Dhoni’s decision), it is my way of showing respect to him.”

On the future in view of Dhoni stepping down, he recalled how Sourav Ganguly, in early 2000’s, had ushered in an era of a “fighting spirit” during which phase Dhoni began to rise.

“After Ganguly, it was also felt no one else like him could come up, and these are natural and emotional, especially India is an emotional country, it is bound to happen when you have illustrious people leaving the game,” he said.

Ashwin, who was recently awarded the ICC’s Player of the Year, also revealed his upcoming plans for the year and his performance in 2016.

“In 2016, I wanted to be the most valuable player in the team, make sure that I was decisive that team wins and that was the only goal I had.”

On strategies for the new year in his domestic and foregin tours including South Africa and Sri Lanka, he said in Sri Lanka he could “bowl the same way as I did the last time, I won man of the series awards there (Sri Lanka). In South Africa I have a desire that I have to do well there, they are a very good team, the conditions will be difficult.”