'It's a great honour for me to represent my country and even after playing 10 years, I don't feel like I am entitled for anything here. You still have to work hard for every run that you score at the international level'
Performing for the country is "not a favour done to anyone", and may be that is the reason even after 10 years of international cricket, Indian captain Virat Kohli feels "no sense of entitlement".
Kohli, who became the fastest to 10,000 ODI runs, eclipsing Sachin Tendulkar by an astounding 54 innings, feels that "nothing should be taken for granted" as it's a privilege that only few are bestowed with while a whole lot of them can only aspire.
"It's a great honour for me to represent my country and even after playing 10 years, I don't feel like I am entitled for anything here. You still have to work hard for every run that you score at the international level," Kohli told BCCI.TV on Thursday.
"There are many people who want this (playing for India) very badly. So when you are in that same position yourself, you should have that same hunger and never take things for granted, never take it easy at any stage," said the Indian skipper.
For Kohli, commitment is about doing what the team requires rather than making a show of it.
"If I have to dive six times in an over, I will do that for the team," said Kohli.
"Because that's my duty and that's why I am selected to play for my country. That's part of my job. It's not doing anyone a favour. Not showing anyone that I am committed but it's purely gaining that extra run for the team. The focus has to be that much precise and finer in that moment," world's No 1 batsman further added.
"You have to understand that I have to push for one more run for the team rather than feeling that I am tired and mentally not there. So, I think that's my only intent, to keep doing what the team needs all the time and just helping it any way possible."
His consistency has been monotonic and Kohli said that he has been able to push barriers only because he has put the team's cause first.
"I have been able to push my physical and mental abilities by focussing on what the team needs and in that process more runs have been scored by me than I would have otherwise if I would have been thinking about my own batting or anything like that."
The 10,000-run milestone, however, dazzling it might look is merely an outcome of the process.
"All these things look good from the outside. As a package from inside you know that you are focussed on the process. The thing is, pushing hard for the team when you are down and out, pushing those 10-12 extra overs, so that the team can benefit from it. Then the runs become more anyway," Kohli said.
For him, the milestone is a testimony to his longevity than anything else.
"I feel really grateful, blessed. These things don't matter much but to understand that you have come this far in your career after playing for 10 years is something quite special to me because I love the sport so much and I want to play it more and more. And that for me is the most important thing," he said.
"So I am just happy that I have been able to play for so long and hopefully many more years to come."