In an Instagram live conversation with off-spinner R Ashwin, Kohli revealed he was always inclined to leadership, even as a youngster, but said it was a skill that needed to be honed. And as captain at the time, Dhoni played a role in that.
“I was always inclined towards taking responsibility,” Kohli said. “After that it was all about just wanting to play, wanting to be in the XI regularly. I didn’t play all the games, but I wanted to be discussed, that ‘whether this guy is good enough to play or not.’ That is a transition that slowly happens.
“Then with your interest in the game you start talking to the captain regularly. I was always in MS’s ear, standing next to him, saying, ‘We can do this, we can do that.’ He would deny a lot of things, but he would discuss a lot of things as well. I think he got a lot of confidence that I can do this after him.
“A large portion of me becoming captain was also to do with him observing me for a long period of time. It can’t just happen that he goes, and the selectors say, ‘Okay you become captain.’ Obviously the guy who is there takes responsibility and says, ‘Okay I think this is the next guy. I will tell you how it is going.’
“And then slowly that transition is formed. He played a big role in that, and that trust you have to build over six-seven years. It doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process.”
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) March 27, 2020
Dhoni has captained India in 60 Tests, the most by any player, but Kohli is in line to overtake him, having already captained the side in 55 matches.
In ODIs, however, Kohli has a way to go – he’s been in charge 89 times, while Dhoni is India’s most successful captain in the format. Under Dhoni’s 200 ODIs as captain, India won 110 matches, including the ODI World Cup in 2011 and the 2013 Champions Trophy.