Kohli’s captaincy can help us win abroad’

‘I love watching Kohli bat.’
If he continues like this, he can achieve what Sachin did.’

1971. He made India realise that we could win Test matches away from home.

Ajit Laxman Wadekar led the Indian team to historic series victories in the West Indies and England the same year, the first time India won a series in those powerful cricketing nations.

Wadekar, a legend of Indian cricket, has had many firsts in a glorious career, besides guiding Bombay to innumerable Ranji Trophy titles.

It was also under his captaincy that India played its first ODI against England at Leeds in 1974.

As the Indian team’s coach, Wadekar made Sachin Tendulkar open the innings in ODIs against New Zealand at Auckland in 1994, a decision that transformed the side’s approach to one day games.

India recently regained the No 1 ranking in Test cricket…

I feel very happy to see this young team led by Virat Kohli. He is an amazing batsman and surely leads from the front.

I can see all the players respecting Kohli because he gives more than his 100 percent on the field.

He is also a very good thinker of the game.

Kohli’s aggressiveness, for me, has been the hallmark of his captaincy.

India has a fantastic record at home, but we haven’t won much in foreign conditions…

I am surprised that we haven’t done much to improve our overseas performance.

I am in favour of playing to your home advantage. So, India should make turning tracks, but during off periods, it is important that the players train on fast and bouncy pitches.

Also, when we tour countries, it is important we reach there early and play practice games to get acclimatised to the conditions.

I feel Kohli’s proactive captaincy can play a crucial role in winning Tests abroad.

How do you compare Kohli’s captaincy with M S Dhoni’s captaincy?

(Laughs.) I knew you would ask me this. Dhoni has been a very successful captain for India, but I felt he waited for things to happen.

Kohli is very aggressive and proactive. This is common with today’s generation. They want to finish things off as soon as possible.

Do you think Kohli should take over from Dhoni in limited overs cricket as well?

See, the next World Cup is in 2019. Three years is a long time and we can’t predict what will happen. The selectors must be having a plan.

I feel Dhoni is still very handy in limited overs cricket and we can use his experience.

The final decision can be made next year based on whether Dhoni wants to play the next World Cup or is in the scheme of things to play in 2019.

You played with the great Indian Spin Quartet — Bishen Bedi, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Erapalli Prasanna, Srinivas Venkataraghavan. How do you rate Ravichandran Ashwin?

There is no denying that Ashwin is a special bowler. For me, he is the world’s best spinner at present.

I wouldn’t compare him with greats like Erapalli Prasanna or Bishen Bedi.

Ashwin’s track record in India is very good and his stature will increase if he performs in overseas conditions.