Indian cricket team leaves for Zimbabwe

Last Updated: Sun, Jul 21, 2013 03:20 hrs

A young Indian cricket team led by Virat Kohli left for a cricket tour of Zimbabwe from here early this morning.

Ahead of the tour, Kohli seemed upbeat about taking on the ODI captaincy for a full series for the first time during India's tour of Zimbabwe, and expressed confidence about his young team's chances.

Under the new selection panel, India has begun to phase out several senior players - the recent Champions Trophy success was achieved without the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan.

On the Zimbabwe tour, it will be an even more inexperienced team as India will be without the services of regular captain M.S. Dhoni and frontline spinner R. Ashwin. The squad will also be missing regular players like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma.

"I don't think experience matters, especially in [the] limited overs game," Kohli said at a promotional event in Mumbai.

"You need eleven players who are hungry for success, who are hard working and whose vision is victory. All fifteen players are strong and it is a strong unit, which is good," he added.

India is currently the No.1 ranked ODI side, and have convincingly won four of their last five series.

"If we continue this way, it will be a good time for Indian cricket. It would make a lot of people happy," Kohli said.

Kohli was previously the stand-in captain after Dhoni injured his hamstring in a match against West Indies during the recent Tri-Nation series. He has plenty of captaincy experience, having led India to the Under-19 World Cup title in 2008, Delhi on the domestic circuit and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.

When asked whether he was fazed by the expectations and pressure of leading the Indian team, Kohli said: "I always like to lead form the front and set an example for whoever is playing with me or around me. I like taking responsibilities. That is a natural thing for me."

Kohli said that he was also happy that all rounder Parvez Rasool was included in the squad, the first cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to be selected in the national team.

"It is a good sign that players are not just coming from major cities. You can see everybody is working hard and the thinking is not narrow-minded. If he gets the opportunity to play a match, then I am sure he will try to give a good performance," Kohli said.

India takes on Zimbabwe in five ODIs in a series starting July 24. (ANI)

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