Patience pays dividends for Kohli

There was this quite determination about Virat Kohli that made him a compelling view on Saturday. He was struggling against himself rather than the English bowlers or the pitch on which scoring wasn’t exactly an easy proposition.

 The Delhi lad came into this series with loads of runs and confidence, but six innings before this yielded a disappointing sequence of 19, 14 n.o., 19, 7, 6 and 20. And he entered the field along with his skipper MS Dhoni with India at 87 for four — 243 runs behind. Hardly an ideal situation for a batsman who has scored less than 100 runs in a significant series like this. But Kohli never let the pressure affect his focus, while notching up his third Test hundred (103, 356m, 295b, 11x4).

“It was challenging (to bat on the pitch). It wasn’t easy to get the ball away. I had to show some patience,” he said. But that’s easier said than done because his natural game is based on aggression, and he had to walk a different route on this day.

The main reason for his downfall in this series has been his ambition to dominate the English bowlers, often undermining the pitch and the quality of the opposition. Kohli admitted it.

“Against New Zealand, I was able to get starts into scores straightaway but this series has been challenging. Personally, I was really eager to do well, so probably I got a little too desperate to score runs and that is not good for a batsman.

You need to be desperate, you need to be hungry but you can’t get too desperate and start putting pressure on yourself,” Kohli said.
But at the VCA stadium, Kohli restrained himself, and there weren’t any inappropriate shots. Perhaps, he might have taken a cue from England captain Alastair Cook, who minimases risky shots and plays well within himself.

Kohli never attempted a cut or a drive when there wasn’t space for those shots. More significantly he cut himself away from negative thoughts.
“I didn’t think about the runs. I didn’t think about the number of balls I was playing, I was just batting. I was pretty pleased to bat for long hours in this game and that is something you will need to do in future in Test matches,” he said.

There was only one occasion the familiar Kohli surfaced. He cut Graeme Swann through covers for a boundary to bring up his third hundred in Tests. It came off 284 balls, and he had batted for nearly 350 minutes. Understandably, Kohli was chuffed.

“Sometimes you know the right day to put your foot down and concentrate for long hours. I was waiting for this one innings. I was not doubting myself at all, and not thinking about what people were saying about.

I am always someone who believes a lot in my abilities and in myself. You need to stay positive when you do well and when you don’t do well as well. That’s the one thing that I did and today was the day I was waiting for.”

If Kohli keeps himself in the same zone, there would be a lot more days like this.

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