regular-article-logo Tuesday, 05 December 2023

Not for others, Virat Kohli reclaims tempo to restore self-belief

Expectations I have for myself as a player are more important to me, says Kohli

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 14.03.23, 04:56 AM
Team India players with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Ahmedabad on Monday.

Team India players with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Ahmedabad on Monday. PTI picture

Virat Kohli had to wait for more than three years to reach his 28th century in Test cricket and admitted that he couldn’t play with the same tempo for a while. However, he was confident that he would be back among runs after the first Test in Nagpur.

“The expectations I have for myself as a player are more important to me. I am not in a space now where I will go out and prove someone wrong. I think in Tests, I wasn’t able to play with my tempo and template that I have for the last 10 years. So that was the one thing I was trying to do.


“I felt like I was batting really well from the first innings in Nagpur. But we focused more on batting as long as possible for the team. I did that for periods but not to the capability that I have done in the past.

“From that perspective, I was disappointed, but there was belief there that I was playing well and if I got an opportunity on a decent wicket, then I can make a big one,” Kohli said at the presentation ceremony.

The former captain, who made a masterful 186 off 364 balls, said that the injury to Shreyas Iyer had upset their plans.

“When I was 59 not out overnight, we did think about playing positively the next day but unfortunately we lost Shreyas to injury so we were a batter short. The plan then became to bat time and make sure the opposition doesn’t sneak into the game. They are very good at doing that, finding opportunities and trying to get a result.

“I was happy with the tempo because of those reasons. The way the innings went, I felt that they had some very good fields and were very consistent with the balls. They didn’t give me any boundary balls at all... In the end, we got the result from a batting point of view... Everything went according to plan,” he said.

Head coach Rahul Dravid admitted that they had an eye on the proceedings of the New Zealand-Sri Lanka match in Christchurch on Monday. With New Zealand winning off the last ball, it was confirmed that India would play Australia in the World Test Championship final.

But he was happy with the 2-1 series win. “It was really a hard-fought series,” said Dravid. “We were put under extreme pressure at times. When we needed someone to put in an impactful performance, we found them. Rohit notched up a century in the first Test, Virat Kohli put up a 180 when needed. Be it Axar, Ashwin, Jadeja... I think we have put up a good fight.”

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