Virat: Can't hit big sixes, so I focus on boundaries
Calcutta: Virat Kohli has a clear idea about what his strengths are on the cricket field.
One of the pillars of India’s batting line-up, Kohli knows well he can’t hit too many sixes. So, he focuses more on hitting boundaries, which is good enough to serve the team’s purpose.
Kohli has hit only 27 sixes in 33 T20 Internationals compared to a whopping 127 boundaries.
Speaking on the eve of India’s Asia Cup opener versus Bangladesh, Kohli said: “My plan during my early days in T20 matches was to get myself in for a few balls, maybe 10, and then score quickly.
“I used to think too much about T20 cricket. I used to think that maybe I don’t hit as many big shots as some of the others or that I don’t hit too many sixes. So I used to try a lot more and plan too much. But at present, I play on instinct.
I have come to terms with the fact that I cannot hit big sixes, so I focus on boundaries.
“I have tried to mould my game in that way, which is trying to hit the ball in the gaps and get boundaries rather than sixes, which is a higher-risk shot. I might hit more boundaries than sixes, but I still get the result.”
Kohli emphasised on the usefulness of the short break, which he feels will make him feel refreshed and play with full intensity in the Asia Cup and World T20.
“The break was pretty good. After a long period, I found some time to get away from the game and take some rest.
“It was necessary because we had been playing non-stop cricket for quite some time. A separate workload is assessed for every cricketer. For example, if I play a five-match series and not score runs, then my workload is not much.
“So, after consulting the team’s physio and others, I decided to take a break, keeping in mind the Asia Cup and the World Cup (ICC World T20), where I need to play with complete intensity,” he explained.
India will be facing Pakistan in the Asia Cup on Saturday. Talking about the high-octane clash, Kohli spoke about Mohammed Aamir, who made a comeback during the series in New Zealand after serving a ban for spot-fixing.
“Aamir has worked hard to make a comeback and it takes courage... He has shown courage in admitting the mistake he made. I wish him all the best.
“I am really happy to see Aamir back. It’s good to see that he has realised his mistake, learnt from it and rectified himself. I have always believed that Aamir is a world-class bowler and had he been around for the five years when he was banned, he would have certainly been among the top-three bowlers.
“He has a lot of talent, has got pace, bounce and a very good yorker,” Kohli explained.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni suffered a muscle spasm on Monday, which resulted in the team management calling Parthiv Patel as a back-up for the captain. Kohli, though, didn’t clarify how fit Dhoni was for the opener on Wednesday.
“Obviously, we have to assess. A player like MS is a pillar for us in the middle order. Now with Parthiv coming in, we have to see if that situation comes and he has to play. We will then have to figure out what’s the best possible combination for the team in terms of the batting order,” said Kohli.
“Unless we come to a decision, we can’t have a concrete plan. Obviously, we will have discussions and yeah, it’s obviously going to be different from what we have been playing with.”
Kohli agreed with Dhoni’s views regarding the team being on autopilot mode at the moment, following T20I victories over Australia and Sri Lanka.
“MS was spot on. It comes from the fact that we play a lot of T20 cricket. In the IPL, we all play a lot of games and express what we need to on the field and execute our skills. So, you keep getting better every season.
“Everyone, individually, in their teams knows what needs to be done at what stage. So even MS, I think, doesn’t need to put in much thought into every ball. I think it takes a lot of load off MS as well.
“It’s a great feeling when all 11 players know what to do,” Kohli said.
He, however, warned his team against complacency and getting over-confident. “We have a good momentum going into the Asia Cup. But we cannot be over-confident and have to respect every opposition.
“It’s an important phase for us before the World Cup. The conditions will also be similar to what we will get in India. The Asia Cup is always a competitive tournament. It’s a chance to take on the best teams in the subcontinent.”
On a light note, Kohli when asked about the infamous traffic snarls in Dhaka, said: “We are more concerned about the cricketing conditions than traffic.
“The wicket does play differently a lot of times and dew can make it almost a one-sided game. As for traffic, I just go off to sleep while we are in the bus.”