'Was watching Shardul-Washington partnership on mobile before doctor called me in'
Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar's 123-run partnership in the first innings of the fourth Test against Australia at The Gabba had the fans glued to their television sets, and India skipper Virat Kohli was no exception. Kohli went ahead a step further and watched the match-winning partnership on his mobile.
Ajinkya Rahane had taken over India's captaincy when Kohli left on paternity leave after the first Test against Australia last year in December. Kohli and wife Anushka Sharma were blessed with a baby girl on January 11.
Rahane then led India to a historic series win over Australia last month. Kohli on Thursday said the connection with the team does not go away in any situation whether he is with the team or not.
As the cricketer and his wife Anushka Sharma anxiously waited the arrival of their child, the Indian captain was glued to his phone to track his team's remarkable turnaround Down Under.
On the eve of the first Test against England, Kohli was asked to express the range of emotions he felt about becoming a father and not being part of one of India's greatest series wins.
"Firstly, I don't think the two can be compared. Becoming a father has been and will remain the greatest moment in my life, in both our lives. That is something to be experienced to understand what I am saying.
"Secondly, the connection to the team does not go away in any situation. Especially when you have given everything to the team. Especially when you have worked for the last six years on a daily basis to take Indian cricket on top," Kohli said.
"The whole group is putting so much effort to take the Test cricket on top. I clearly remember when Shardul and Washington were going through a partnership in the last Test, I was watching the match on my phone just before the doctor called me in," he further said.
"That's how connected you are with the team and everyone deserves the credit for what they did in Australia. It was purely out of grit and determination… it is something that will remain in the hearts and minds of cricket fans forever. I was very proud and happy for the boys," Kohli added.
Kohli missed the last three Tests in Australia to attend the birth of his daughter, but was pleased to see how, under Ajinkya Rahane, India completed a stunning turnaround.
India pulled off a fighting draw in Sydney before a miraculous chase saw them winning the series at Gabba. He was not surprised one bit to see his colleagues fighting till the end despite the side being ravaged by injuries.
"Our team's identity was created when I started captaining in 2014. We had decided back then only that we will go for win whenever possible, draw will be the last option."
"If we look at overseas tours in England and South Africa, except New Zealand, we kept telling us for those one to two years that we lost those games in 45 minutes or a session, not that we were dominated.
"That belief grew when we won in Australia two years ago and has gotten stronger with another victory there. The way the team performed this is the most special win for the team as there was not a lot of experience on offer."
Talking about his England counterpart Joe Root playing his 100th Test in Chennai, Kohli said it was no small feat.
"Firstly, big congrats to Joe. He can be very proud of being in this journey. He has still got many years of cricket still left."
He was also asked if Root figures in the big four club that includes Kohli himself, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith.
"I have good memories of watching Joe come on to the international scene. He probably got a head start compared to all the other three that you mentioned.
"Look the talk about big four is all created by media. As international cricketers you understand impact players and Joe has been one of them for a while.
"As opposition you always try and disrupt the opposition batting plans and when we play England, Joe is that vital wicket we look to get early on and that is a compliment to his game and his longevity.
"He has got a great game, a great understanding of the game also."