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King Kohli speaks: I'm playing well, not bothered about scores!

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 04, 2022 20:11 IST
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'We are somehow crazy about milestones and materialistic achievements.'

Virat Kohli

IMAGE: Virat Kohli scored 45 and looked set for a big score in his 100th match, on the opening day of India's first Test against Sri Lanka, in Mohali, on Friday. Photograph: BCCI

Virat Kohli had "butterflies" in his stomach and "felt nervous" like a debutant when he walked out to bat in his 100th Test, but insists he is not bothered by the lack of hundreds as he is batting well.


Kohli scored 45 and looked set for a big score before being bowled by Lasith Embuldeniya on the opening day of India's first Test against Sri Lanka, in Mohali, on Friday.

"I am preparing as I have always prepared. As long as I am batting well, I am not bothered. We are somehow crazy about milestones and materialistic achievements," Kohli told mediapersons, when asked if he wants to revisit his process since big runs have dried up.

"It felt like I am making my debut. Had butterflies in my stomach, did feel very nervous," he added.

However, he admitted that he needs to convert his starts.

"Obviously disappointed, as I got a good start. I was batting well. You obviously feel disappointed as a batsman. Endeavour is always to make sure to play a big innings for the team and put the team in a strong position," he said.

One of the pertinent points that he raised was that in a post-COVID-19 world, there is very little time left for course correction when one needs to do it.

"It's been tough playing three formats and IPL for so long. Proud of how I have handled my physique, my body."

Fine-tuning skills difficult in COVID times

Prior to the game, Kohli looked a bit scratchy during a practice session where he got out multiple times to pacers and spinners alike. In fact, both Ravindra Jadeja and Saurabh Kumar, the two left arm spinners, beat his outside edge and clipped the stumps.

The dismissal by Lasith Embuldeniya on Friday, when he played on the back-foot not expecting much turn only to see the off-stump disturbed, led to questions if players are finding it difficult in current environment to work on their game.

"Lot of things have changed since COVID happened," he agreed.

"We also have to understand that we play regularly in bubbles and as you said, we are always and always involved in cricket all the times."

"It's very difficult to get away from it and if you want to go back and work on something in your game, then you have to consider going back and come back and be in quarantine for five days and then sit in a hotel room where all the progress means nothing."

"It's not been an easy environment to get away from the game and get time to work on things. That's the reality of the situation that we play in," he explained.

In earlier times, players could switch off during breaks but bio-bubbles have extended the series durations with hard quarantines and managed isolation making switching off extremely difficult.

"It has been challenging in how you follow your don't really have time to work on things and fine-tune a few things and switch off from the game and come back fresh."

"It's something that not just me but all cricketers across the world have spoken about. It does take a toll on you. Constantly thinking about the same thing day in and day out. The switch off that we used to have earlier can't be accessed so much (now)."

100 Tests is testimony to my discipline

For Kohli, the 100 Tests in this day and age of gruelling schedules, including the IPL, is a testament to his fitness and disciplined lifestyle as he has missed only two matches in the longest format due to injury.

"I am immensely proud of how I have handled myself and handled my physique and fitness levels to come this far. Obviously lot of discipline and lifestyle changes."

"If you don't have discipline in life, you won't be able to come this far."

Nothing changes now that I am not captain

For Kohli, nothing has changed since his captaincy tenure ended as he has now started his journey as a specialist batter after 68 Tests in charge.

"As a specialist batter, I have said this before. Even before I became captain, it was exactly the same."

"It never changed and it never wavered and I have always been a responsible player and took responsibility in different things even when I wasn't captain," he said.

"Obviously, captaincy brings in lot more responsibility." 

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