India captain Virat Kohli said that he would wear a “broader smile” on his face once the current team conquers an overseas season.
Asked why he does not look happy even after 10 wins in 13 Tests over India’s longest home season in recent times, the skipper replied, “It is a classic case of understanding that this is not the end of anything.”
“No need to get over excited with whatever we have done. We are very happy with No 1 ranking in the world but our main challenge begins now. If we can conquer the overseas season, that’s when you will see a broader smile on my face when I sit down for the press conference.”
For Kohli, the biggest gain has been building a team for the future with all these wins at home.
“It is a very proud moment. Playing good cricket all season, especially in the home season, we dominated all of it. It was very important for a young side to do so and build a team for the future so that we can give such performances consistently. That we did in this whole season and it was important how we responded to difficult situations.” Kohli also acknowledged the hard yards put in by the support staff in team’s success.
“The credit goes to all of them, support staff’s role is not highlighted much but their contribution is nearly 40 percent because they handle the players’ mindset and their skills and working hard with them, giving them good feedback, so these are important things. So this is a team effort, rather this is a squad effort because it involves everyone. Credit goes to everyone in this squad.”
Kohli praised Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy and revealed that it was his deputy who was in favour of playing five bowlers. Kuldeep Yadav was picked because of his X-factor.
“I spoke to Jinks (Rahane’s team nickname) before the game and he asked me what I feel. I said, this is your game and you have to be comfortable with playing play four or five bowlers. He instantly said five bowlers because he understands the workloads of the guys throughout the whole season.
“So that fifth bowler, that was Anil bhai and Jinks and myself, we all had a discussion. Kuldeep was the X factor, they hadn’t played him, they hadn’t seen him much and he turned out to the difference in the game.
“I think from 130 for 1 to 300 all out on the same day can really demoralise the opposition. And I think it was a great call on Jinx and Anil bhai’s part.”.
Although it was difficult to watch the game from the sidelines, Kohli is happy that the team was ready to take collective responsibility in his absence.
“I jerked my shoulder four times yesterday celebrating from outside. So that’s how much energy I had and I couldn’t sit in the change room. It was not a nice feeling. I don’t know how many Test matches I’ve played in a row (54). So if it was a strain injury it would have been different, but impact injury really left me with no options.
“And to start a game at 50% was not fair on the team. That’s the kind of person I have always been and I will continue to be. But the most pleasing thing is when you see guys taking the responsibility in your absence and actually going out there to play one of the best ever Test matches that as a viewer you can see.”
Kohli has faced some criticism on and off the field with a sudden dip in form after an exception season that saw him score four double hundred in four successive series prior to the one against Australia. But he has now learnt to take it all in his stride.
“Criticism is not in my control. I have heard a very wise person tell me that when a person is down, the weak come out to speak against him. It takes courage to talk about someone when they are on top. It is fine, I was targeted individually and I haven’t done well in this series, so opportunities galore for everyone to come out and speak about me, which is fine.
“When I did well, then also people talked about me. When I haven’t done well, obviously I expect people to come out and start saying all sorts of things. It is very easy to sit at home and write a blog or speak behind the mic (microphone). I think that’s easier than coming out and competing in the field. So that’s all I have to say about that,” Kohli said.