| Virat Kohli
Bangalore: Virat Kohli, a Young Turk, recently spoke to The Telegraph.
The following are excerpts
Tell us something about yourself...
I come from a middle-class family... Its a family which loves sport and never did anything to discourage my interest in cricket... I lost my father (Prem Nath) during a Ranji match... My mother, Saroj, is a housewife.
I have an elder brother, Vikash, and an elder sister, Bhavna, both of whom happen to be married.
Gautam Gambhir, your India and Delhi mate, wanted to be an armyman… Did you, too, have such an inclination?
(Laughs) No, I didnt have any such dreams, always wanted to be a cricketer. I didnt have any back-up plans in case I couldn't become one.
Your attitude stands out...
Whatever I am, its natural… I dont have to pretend to be aggressive, dont have to show the opposition that I am on the field. Being aggressive comes naturally to me, helps me perform.
Some have already marked you out as a future captain of Team India. Your thoughts?
Its a very big comment… At this stage of my career, Im just looking to improve… Looking to play Test cricket... Later, if an opportunity (to captain) does come about, then I should be ready for it.
[Kohli, incidentally, captained India to victory in the U-19 World Cup in 2008.]
Any heroes as captain?
Mahendra Singh Dhoni… Not because I play under him, but because of what the Indian team has achieved with him as captain... The change in attitude, the successes... It has been amazing... Today, no matter how were placed, we dont give up... Also, Dhoni has given us youngsters so much of confidence... He has allowed us to play our natural game, which has been encouraging... He has made us realise that even we have plenty of responsibility.
To talk of the IPL, youre one of the very few to have been retained by a franchise, in fact, the only one by the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Is that putting you under pressure?
No… Rather, Im feeling really confident that the franchise has so much faith in me. If you are the only one to be retained, then it means that the team is looking at you as the main player. This year, Im hoping to bat up the order... Its in my hands to repay the faith shown by the franchise.
Generally, what are your likes and dislikes?
I like to spend time at home, but I cant sit around for a long time doing nothing… If its a break, then Ive got to resume training after two-three days... Where food is concerned, I eat just about everything, but sushi is my favourite... I like Punjabi songs.
Too many people coming home, especially the relatives, when I have some days off… Its a natural thing for them to do, but... Id much rather spend time only with my immediate family and the closest of friends.
Youve been going to one academy all your life...
Yes, the West Delhi Cricket Academy, run by my coach, Raj Kumar Sharma… Ive been going there for the last 13 years... Talking cricket with him helps me relax. I also quite like catching up with friends there.
Dhoni is passionate about bikes, youre about four-wheelers. Your latest buy?
(Laughs) A Skoda Superb... I do enjoy little things like driving.
The world of movies...
Im a big fan of Aamir Khan… Among actresses, I like Aishwarya Rai.
I love soccer, love tennis... Roger Federer has been a favourite for a long, long time. The kind of consistency he has shown, 16 Grand Slam titles… The way he handles himself in pressure situations is admirable… He is so calm... In soccer, Im a huge fan of Barcelona... I like watching Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and David Villa.
Are you superstitious?
With some things… Earlier, I used to wear the same pair of gloves with which Id been scoring. Now, that phase has gone as I first look for comfort! The superstition revolves around wearing black wristbands.
How do you relax?
I listen to songs… I have a playlist in my iPod… English, Punjabi, Hindi… Im with the music for half-an-hour or so, at the end of the day... Of late, Ive learnt to stay at the same level emotionally, neither get too excited nor feel somewhat low.
Thats the Gary Kirsten mantra…
Well, yes... I joke with teammates all the time and Ill be the same whether Im going to field or to bat.
The final one: Do you straightaway recall anything told to you by idol Sachin Tendulkar?
Sachin has said a lot of things about my game... He feels I could add to my armoury... I wont go into the details, though.