Crediting his rampaging run to captaincy, Indian swashbuckler Virat Kohli says the added responsibility has left no room for complacency in his batting and that has helped him achieve the record-breaking feat of four double hundreds in as many Test series.
Kohli, who smashed 204 on the second day of the ongoing one-off Test against Bangladesh in Hyderabad, said captaincy has helped him go for longer innings in Test matches. “I don’t know, I think it is because of captaincy that you tend to go on more than what you usually would as a normal batsman. I think the room for complacency is no more present when you become captain. So, that has something to do with me playing long innings,” the 28-year-old right-handed batsman said.
“I have always wanted to play long innings and my first seven or eight hundreds were not even 120 plus scores. After that I made a conscious effort to bat long and control my excitement or not be complacent at any stage,” he was quoted as saying by ‘bcci.tv’, when asked about his hunger for big scores.
En route his 204, Kohli became the first batsman in the history of Test cricket to claim four double hundreds in as many series. In the process, he surpassed the legendary Sir Don Bradman and Rahul Dravid, both of whom had three double hundreds in successive series. Kohli’s four double hundreds have come against West Indies (200), New Zealand (211), England (235) and now Bangladesh.
The Indian captain said that he’s is no longer satisfied with Test hundreds and his fitness level allows him to play for longer innings and eye bigger scores. “I worked on my fitness level over the years and I feel I can go for longer periods now. I don’t get tired as much as I used to before. Definitely, I don’t get satisfied when I get a Test hundred which used to be before, because I used to give too much importance to Test cricket separately. Now I have started to treat it as any game of cricket and I have to keep going on till the time the team needs to,” said the Delhi batsman.
Asked how he has been able to maintain consistency across the three formats, he said, “It is not easy to do especially with the amount of cricket we play nowadays. It is more of a mental thing. I don’t necessarily focus too much on practice because sometimes you might not get to practice so much.
“I think mentally you need to focus and think about what you are going to do in the game. Switching to different formats is the need of the hour in these days’ cricket. I certainly want to contribute in all three formats. That has always been the mindset and I have to prepare in a certain way. It is more mental than going into the nets.”
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He, however, admitted that the Hyderabad pitch was not as testing as other wickets on which he had scored his double centuries earlier. “The wicket was very good to bat on, to be honest. It was not as testing wicket as other wickets that I scored double centuries on. I think the focus was only to follow my intent but at the same time be careful in terms of choosing my shots. Luckily I struck a right balance in this particular innings and it feels good to have a big score,” Kohli said.
Kohli could have been out on 180 when Bangladesh off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz got a leg before decision from on-field umpire but on his batting partner Wriddhiman Saha’s insistence he went for a DRS request and the decision was overturned and he was able to get to his double hundred. Asked why he did not think of using DRS initially, Kohli said, “I thought if the ball had spun right from under my eyes when I was batting on 180-odd it has to spin a lot for me to miss it because I have been connecting well. It was not a lapse in concentration, the ball really spun sharply from in front of my pads. So the thinking was that. Plus we had two reviews and if I got out I was going to be the fifth batsman who got out and the others could use one review still.”
But Kohli said he was sure he was out leg before and so he did not use the DRS second time when he walked off the field on 204. “The other one, I thought I got plumb in front. I was falling back when I got hit on the pad as well and that is why the umpire could not give not out either because I was not standing there, I was falling behind. If you see the real time replay, you looked plumb but the umpires don’t have the replays, neither do the players.
“I also felt I was right in front of the stumps. I don’t want to use a review because I felt I was plumb in front. Moreover, (Wriddhiman) Saha or (Ravindra) Jadeja might be nearing a milestone (later after him) and they could be using a DRS for themselves as well. So the second one to me I felt I was plumb in front and that was why I started walking briskly as well and no grudges with the umpire either because it happened way too quickly for them to understand where the ball impacted the pad.”