He surpassed legends like Sachin Tendulkar to become the fastest to reach 7000 runs and 24 ODI centuries but star Indian batsman Virat Kohli said as a cricketer he is “still very much a work in progress”.
“I am very much a work in progress as a cricketer. Opponents are always trying to get you out, trying to outsmart you and you need to stay ahead of them. I feel like I am learning everyday, trying something new on the field,” said Kohli today in a Facebook video chat with his fans.
“That (mindset) keeps you grounded as well. We, as players, understand that not many are getting to play at the highest level and I am trying to make the most of it,” he added.
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Did he ever think about getting to 7000 runs faster than anyone else?
“I never planned it to be honest. The aim is to score as many runs for the team as possible. I did not focus on it (the record) but god has been my kind. When you look back you do feel it is special but you can’t really plan these records,” said India’s Test captain, who took 161 innings to achieve the feat.
“It was also special to score the century with my brother watching it from the stands. He came to see me just for a day and I am glad his trip turned out to be a fruitful one,” he added.
Not the one to be too affected by the conditions, Kohli said it doesn’t matter where he is playing as long as he is contributing to the team’s cause.
“I take every game the same way (whether in India or overseas). I want to score runs in every game I play and I want to win the game for my team. I feel it is just putting extra pressure in your head if you start categorising conditions. Cricket is a simple game and I try to keep it simple.”
With the ongoing ODI series against Australia already lost, Kohli is eyeing redemption in the T20 series which follows the last two ODIs. Besides that, he is excited to play alongside Yuvraj Singh, who has made a comeback into the Indian team.
How does he describe his rapport with Yuvraj?
“I am very close to him. He is like an elder brother to me. I have always been very fond of him. He plays the game with a lot of passion. He is a wonderful human being, not many know that.
“There has been misconceptions about him but he is very hard-working, takes a lot of pride in playing for India. He has always guided me. I am very excited to be playing with him in T20s here,” said Kohli.
What Kohli does with the bat is known to all but he can also bowl a bit of medium pace, albeit with a unique action. Whatever the case may be, he does take his bowling seriously.
“Everyone laughs when I come on to bowl no matter what the situation is. I know my action is funny but I get the job done which is important,” he said in a lighter vein.
Kohli also has 11 Test hundreds and he was asked to pick his top three.
“The century in Johannesburg (119 in Dec 2013) has to be at the top. We chose to bat on day one, the wicket was green, the bowling attack was challenging and I had not scored runs in the preceding one day series. There was a build up before that Test match. We were tagged as not being able handle to bouncy balls. Looking back, that century was special.
“Second one will be second innings at Adelaide (141 in Dec 2014). We went for the target and I did not plan to focus on the hundred. It was one of the best zones I have been in while batting.
“Wellington (105 in Feb 2014) is third. I wanted to finish the series on a high. So this has to be the order of top three,” he said.
He was also asked some off the field stuff. Amir Khan is his favourite Bollywood actor and if there is a movie made on him ever, Kohli has the opening scene set in his mind.
“The opening scene would me hogging some fried food at home and some paranthas with a lot of butter. And a big can of colas and drinks that I don’t even touch now. That would be the opening scene,” quipped one of the fittest cricketers around.
Has he learnt a life lesson from cricket?
“Yes I have. And that is never stop working hard. Never take anything for granted. Never drift away from goals, your values and vision. Things can come down very quickly. Our sport teaches you that so well,” he added.