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I will give my best to win it for India: Kohli

Last updated on: February 3, 2011 20:01 IST

I will give my best to win it for India: Kohli

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Manu Shankar

He's been one of the most consistent players in the last six months, and even towered above other Indian batsmen in the recently-concluded series in South Africa. While India's leading batsmen struggled to cope with the pace and bounce of Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn, Virat Kohli was rock-solid and unyielding.

Gone are his days of inconsistency and cavalier attitude. He has transformed himself into a go-to man for M S Dhoni's team. So much so that when the selectors sat down to pick the squad for the World Cup, his was one the first names penned for the final 15.

Kohli, who led India to victory in the Under-19 World Cup, in Malaysia, in 2008, feels the team should not be weighed down by the pressure of expectation from the country's cricket-mad fans.

"Playing the World Cup in itself is huge pressure. There will be people who expect us to do well. The biggest challenge is, therefore, not to get distracted by that and concentrate on the job on hand," said Kohli, at a function in Delhi on Thursday.

"It's been a dream run for me since the Under-19s, and it was a dream to make it to the World Cup team one day. I'm really excited and will give my best to win it for India. It will be dream come true if we can achieve it," he added.

Photograph: Manu Shankar


Image: Virat Kohli

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'I play according to my strengths'

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The 22-year-old Delhi batsman joined the chorus of his teammates wanting to win the mega event in the subcontinent for Sachin Tendulkar, saying it would be great because the batting ace is 'special'.

"Tendulkar's contribution to Indian cricket is immense. So, therefore, winning the cup for him and India will be special. We have to win the Cup not only for our fans but also for Sachin, who is a special person," he said.

Kohli, who has four centuries to his name from 45 ODIs, feels sticking to the basics, and not repeating the same mistakes, is one of the reasons for his consistency.

"I play according to my strengths and not do anything special. With the experience of having played international cricket for the past two years I have learnt that if one tries too hard for something special, one might just spoil the ability to do things, which comes naturally.

"I learn from my mistakes and try not to repeat them when I come to bat next time."

Not surprisingly was he calm even as the rest of the batsmen went through anxious moments against the pacers in South Africa.

"You have to realise the bowlers, in their home conditions, will come at you hard. At times you have to take them on.

"That's what I did. If you look all the deliveries that I got out to they were good balls," Kohli said.


Image: Virat Kohli
Photographs: Reuters
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'I love playing under lights'

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Fact is Kohli grabbed his chances better than other youngsters, like Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina.

Figures endorse the fact that he is quite sensational when India is chasing.

Speaking off the ODI match against South Africa in Port Elizabeth, where he was unbeaten on 87 as India lost on the Duckworth-Lewis method, Kohli recounted: "I love playing under lights; I play well under lights.

"I remember talking to Harbhajan Singh during our partnership. I felt I could have pulled it off if we got 15 overs."


Image: Virat Kohli

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'Injuries don't happen intentionally'

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Asked about the injuries players like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Praveen Kumar are nursing ahead of the quadrennial event that kicks-off on February 19, Kohli was quick to point out that they are part and parcel of the game.

"Injuries don't happen intentionally. With the amount of cricket that we play injuries are bound to happen. All I can that is it's just bad timing.

"You may be the fittest guy around but suddenly you can twist an ankle and be out of action for six months. So it's unfortunate that some of our players have sustained injuries," he lamented.


Image: Virat Kohli

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'We would like to play in final. All the best to the others!'

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Players like Kevin Pietersen have criticised the format for the World Cup. So what's his take on it?

"This is a better format than before. But don't think it would have mattered for us, as we have to do what we have to do. It's more about the confidence.

"But, yes, this tournament gives an opportunity for teams to comeback even if they lose a couple of matches upfront," he said.

And what about the usage of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) at the tournament?

"We are okay with the UDRS. The teams have used it in the past. I mean, if we have three referrals, the other team too has three referrals; so it's fair and square."

He picked Australia, South Africa and England as the teams to beat before adding, "Any team can be a threat on a given day, but England and South Africa have been playing consistently."

So who will make the final? Who would he like to face in final?

"We would like to play in final. All the best to the others!"


Image: Virat Kohli

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