Confused Kohli sought Sachin's help

“He batted brilliantly, timed the ball pretty well,” said Kohli of Ashwin. “His mind was pretty free. He was relaxed, sure of what to do, just reacting to the ball. That's what worked as an advantage to him. The confidence of his bowling rubbed off. He has taken wickets in the series, and getting a hundred is always special for a bowler. It was a brilliant innings.

“He came out and started playing shots and I was like — I am standing at one end trying to handle pressure, trying to get the situation right from the time, and he gets five fours in 10 balls! It was good he was in that kind of space. It was good to have him scoring from one end, I could bat myself in and spend more time in the middle.”

Of his own crucial 52, Kohli remarked, “My first series (in the West Indies) was a disappointment. But I was in a good mental space before this series, I got runs against England in the one-dayers. That said, Test cricket is a different ballgame. It was difficult for me because I was thinking about too many things, I put myself under pressure in West Indies.

“I spoke to Sachin and he told me to do the same things I do normally. He told me not to be over-focused,” added the articulate youngster. “That helped me. I went in in a difficult situation, but I cherish playing under pressure. I was concentrating all the time because of the team needing me to be there.”

Kohli made his debut in the West Indies because Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh, among others, had been missing. This time, he is in the squad on his own steam. “To a cerrtain extent, I thought I got the West Indies tour because so many players took rest. But not having done well there and scoring runs again and getting back into the team was satisfying for me, probably a better feeling having seniors in the side and getting included — that way you know that selectors and team management are showing faith in you to do well in that format.

“That is a bit of a confidence booster and having seniors in the team going into bat is a huge bonus for any youngster.”

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