Man of the match Virat Kohli on Saturday said that it is the challenge of playing on tough pitches like the one at Eden Gardens Saturday night brings the best out of him.
“It was a challenging wicket, that’s what you want as a cricketer — new challenges to play. Last game, I was very disappointed to have got out, that really hurt.
Even the 49 against Pakistan in Dhaka was really satisfying, that’s what you need, a tough pitch a good bowling attack and you pulling your team out of trouble,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
He was all praise for Yuvraj Singh, who helped him conjure a 61-run stand.
“Yuvraj weathered the storm and then smacked a few. That’s Yuvi style. I think these performances are good for him as well, he’s in good nick.”
Kohli admitted that he did not know that wicket would offer so much turn till Ashwin started bowling.
“I didn’t look at wicket till Ashwin started bowling. The way the ball spun, I thought it was going to grip. Even cutters bowled by fast bowlers was gripping. So I told our batting coach (Sanjay Bangar) that since the ball was popping up, I would stand inside the crease and open the bat face rather than hit cover drive,” said Kohli.
He dedicated his 50 to Sachin Tendulkar, who was there in the stands.
“I started playing cricket watching him. So to do it in front of 67,000 people with him celebrating, it was a great feeling.”
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said that he did expect turn but no so much of turn.
“Not like this (expect to turn). In the second half, it got slightly better, and they had only one spinner. Initially, when we saw the pitch we did not think it would turn so much. I think we can do better, there are areas we can improve, once we get into the knockouts you won’t get a second chance.”
Dhoni defended his decision of not playing extra spinner to the fact that this kind of turn was not apprehended.
“If I knew from the start if it would turn so much, I have no problems playing another spinner.”
But Dhoni explained why he wanted a third seamer in Pandya, because of the dew for instance, and because he has a lot of back up spin options.
Shahid Afridi also spoke in the same vein about not expecting a pitch like this.
“I was not expecting a pitch like this, I think we were a bit short with runs – 30 runs short. We didn’t bowl in the right areas, I did not bowl well. Virat Kohli batted really well.”