The desperation to singlehandedly take his team over the line, condemning himself for mistakes are some of the aspects of Virat Kohli's leadership that South African captain Aiden Markram wants to inculcate after witnessing the Indian skipper maul his side into submission during their 1-5 ODI series defeat.
Kohli finished the series with a staggering 558 runs, which includes three hundreds and a half-century as the Men in Blue pounced on any chance that was given to them. After the Test series defeat 2-1, the Virat Kohli led Team India came back stronger, better and efficient in the limited overs format which they fully took control of by winning the series 5-1.
The in-stand skipper Markram lauded and admired Kohli's desperation to win and make it big in the matches. The Indian skipper was highly criticised for his decisions as captain in the Test series, however, the visitors managed to turn the tables with outrageous wins in the One Day International series.
"Kohli's desperation to win games for his side is massive. And that's why he condemns himself (on mistakes) like he does. Its all from a competitive point of view and its nothing malicious. That desperation shows when he bats - he doesn't just gets his side close to the line, he gets them over it," Markram said during the media interaction.
"So there are a lot of things I can learn from him (Kohli). There are a lot of things I can learn from their team as a whole, and from us as a whole. I am taking little pieces from here and there, the young Proteas captain said.
Markram had no hesitation in admitting that Kohli was the massive difference between both the sides and should be credited for his decisions as a leader and a batsman who can take the game forward.
"He made a massive difference. He is obviously in incredible touch and showing it. His hunger for runs and desperation to finish games is up there with the very best, and that's why he is one of the best players in the world. He has been one of the differences and their spinners have also played a massive role. But he's had a great series and credit must be given where it is due", said Markram.
Markram who has filled in for injured Faf du Plessis, was asked if he was embarrassed with the margin of series defeat, he felt that the choice of word was too harsh.
"Embarrassed is quite a harsh word (in terms of series result). Obviously, we were not up to the standard we would have liked to be. We are really disappointed as a squad. I wouldn't want to say were embarrassed.
We put a lot of hard work in behind the scenes and we do give our absolute best.We fight for the player next to us and that's a crucial thing. Results-wise it could look embarrassing so I understand the question, but were more disappointed than anything else", said the in-stand skipper.
Markram was quick to point out that South Africa had always felt that the ODI series would be tough against a world-class Indian side who have now surpassed the Proteas to take the top spot in the ODI rankings.
"It was always going to be tough. It was something I was looking forward to and a challenge that I enjoy. I can still say that sitting here having lost a series 5-1, it was a responsibility that I enjoy. I learnt a lot and at this stage of my career and that's not a bad thing. Going forward, I am going to take the lessons I did learn. The experience of dealing with other pressures will help me grow as a player."
The skipper also admitted that his own form had been patchy in the series with only 127 runs in six games.
"As an individual, I set high standards for myself, and not having done well, this series there was that form of pressure as well. So there are various forms of pressure - captaincy is just one of them. But like I mentioned, it is a pressure I enjoy and I would like to enjoy it more in the future, he added.
He also accepted coach Ottis Gibson's criticism that he did not play his natural game.
"He's (Gibson) got full right to say that just by watching with the naked eye. I wasn't playing the usual game I do play, and whether that was due to various pressure or not being in the zone or in the moment is probably the reason. He's spot-on with what he says, we did chat about it and today when I was batting I felt in a more comfortable space. I felt I was structuring my innings how I would if I was batting in a franchise game. It's very late in the series but it's a positive that I was able to overcome that obstacle. It's moving in the right direction I suppose," he concluded.
(With PTI Inputs)