Kohli ready to captain India in all formats: Shastri


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Ravi Shastri, the former director of the Indian team, believes that Virat Kohli is ready to captain the side across all three formats. Speaking to India Today on Monday (May 30), Shastri said the decision to replace MS Dhoni with Kohli should be taken "in the interest of Indian cricket".

"If I am the chairman of selectors, I would be thinking in that fashion, absolutely," Shastri said when asked if it was time to hand Kohli the reigns of captaincy in all forms of the game.

"It is time to start thinking. You have to see India has no major event in three years till 2019 World Cup. This is your best chance to think and build."

Considering India play a lot of Test matches and very less amount of limited-overs cricket over the next few months, Shastri feels that Kohli, who has been groomed as the next leader for a while, should take over from Dhoni because of the gap between Tests and One-Day Internationals.

"India play hardly any one-day cricket if you see the next 18 months-two years, and the gaps between Tests and ODIs are massive," he said. "So, here's your time to look ahead and see what you can do with an Indian side all-round three years down the line. If I am the chairman of selectors, I would be thinking in that direction, no question about it."

While admitting that it could turn out to be a hard decision, Shastri wants the Indian selectors to take a cue from their Australian counterparts.

"It's a catch 22, it's a hard decision, but I would be thinking about it from now.

"The game has to evolve, hard decisions have to be taken, such is life. And nothing wrong in that, it is in the interest of Indian cricket. If you see down the line and you think Dhoni is still the best captain, keep him as captain. But the issue here is the breaks and do you have a guy ready? My answer is you have a guy ready."

"Mark Taylor was a great captain but they started to groom Steve Waugh. Just when you thought that Waugh was firmly there, in came Ricky Ponting and then Michael Clarke, the best captain after Mark Taylor. And now you have Steve Smith."

The 54-year-old also made it clear that Dhoni was still good enough to continue representing India and contribute massively.

"By no stretch of imagination you are taking anything away from Dhoni. He can still contribute massively as a player. I think the time has come to allow him to enjoy himself and enjoy the game.

"End of the day, it is about how hungry Dhoni is, how passionate he is, whether the juices still go as in wanting to play for India. Also the time has come where you have a guy whom you have groomed over a period of time. Virat is ready."