Virat Kohli has scored runs in almost every part of the world. The India Test captain has runs in all formats of the game as well. But in his exceptional career, Kohli has been troubled only in one part of the world – England. And when India travel to England in 2018 for another Test series, all eyes will be on him if he can change his record there. The batsman is also thinking about it.
Kohli, before the fifth Test against England in Chennai, said that he trying to plan out and play county cricket before India travel to England for a series in 2018 to understand the conditions there.
“If I have chance, I would love to be there. Say a month or a month-and-a-half before the tour. Get used to playing conditions and understand how the wickets behave in that phase of the year. I think these things matter a lot. I have been thinking about and take time out to play there,” he said.
In the ten innings he has played in England (all during India’s tour of England in 2014), Kohli could manage only 138 runs at an average of 13.8. He was constantly troubled by the outside the off-stump delivery by England pacers.
But against England in India, Kohli has been exceptional. He has 824 runs in the 14 innings he has played in his home country and he will like to add more to it when India take on England in the fifth and final Test in Chennai.
The captain said that they are not thinking of making it 4-0 and they will play with same intensity as they have done previously.
“We take one game at a time. We are not looking at the complete series. Every game is separate from the other. Every game we have the same intensity even if the series is won, drawn or lost. We are not looking at a scoreline as such. It takes a lot of hard-work to win a Test and a series as well. It is all about the process like it has been in the past,” he said.
Crediting his lower-order batsmen, especially the spinners, Kohli said that runs from his bowlers gives him the freedom to play only five batsmen.
“Contributions with bat has been outstanding. Haven’t taking anything from me to motivate them. Ashwin has set a bench mark for other spinners to contribute with bat as well. Jadeja did it in Mohali. Jayant as well as he gets inspired seeing Ashwin the way he improves his cricket. He has always been a key learner. You see all the fast bowlers, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar and even Umesh have improved with the bat and they understand the importance of these runs. Amit Mishra has done well whenever he has played. As a captain this gives you freedom to play five batsmen rather than thinking of playing another batsman. I give them credit for contributing with the bat,” he said.
Kohli, who scored 235 in the last Test without a six, said that it was his conscious effort to not play aggressively and help his team.
“It’s a conscious effort to curb my aggression. I feel the urge to go after the spinners but I also understand that I have to be there for a hour or two more. I also think there is no need to hit sixes. It is just the excitement of the player reach a 150 or 160 to express himself. I can rotate strike and not big risk and cost the team some momentum because we have decided to play five batsmen then it is my responsibility to play according to plan and not according to what I want. It’s about understanding what the team needs and you need to adjust according to that,” he explained.
The middle-order batsman also praised spinner Jayant Yadav, who scored a hundred in the previous match, saying that he has all it takes to become a successful cricket.
“Ashwin and Jadeja are the front runners when we want to club the runs by creating the pressure and whenever we require a wicket alongwith the fast bowlers. Jayant comes in and has his plans. He has lot of control over his bowling. He rushes the ball and doesn’t give the batsman time to adjust. He has the revs on his deliveries and also the strength in his shoulders that allows that. Grame Swann was very similar. Pace control was magnificent without giving too much air. As a captain I know that the third bowler is someone the batsmen cannot go after. And that is when Jayant comes into play,” he said.