Kohli shruggs off omission

Cricket: Delhi youngster says he has left his spoilt kidimage behind

Kohli shruggs off omission

WELCOME BACK! Virat Kohli (left) and Kevin Pietersen in a jovial mood during the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s practice session on Monday. DH PHOTO“I was expecting that I would be probably there in the team because I have been doing well in one-dayers,” admitted Kohli who has scored two tons and three half-centuries in the last ten ODIs.

“(But) it’s all a matter of how the selectors look at who’s fit for which format and I think that the team which has been selected is really good,” remarked the right-hander before adding that if he were to bat up the order like he did in the second edition of the IPL in South Africa, it could have helped his cause. “It’s unfortunate that I haven’t got a chance to play up the order in the IPL (for Royal Chalengers) because I have improved with every IPL that I have played in and if you need someone to get big scores, you need to trust them going up the order for a few matches to get them going. If I had batted up the order in this IPL I would have probably scored more runs than what I have right now but it’s all a part of the game because the top order is playing very well for us,” he elaborated.

From a tempestous boy, or a spoilt kid as he refers to himself, to a matured cricketer, Kohli has gone through a transiiton in a very short span of time that is so well reflected in his game. “Yeah absolutely, the more cricket you play the more you learn,” noted the 21-year-old who led India to under-19 World Cup triumph a couple of years ago.

“These last two years have been really important to my career and I have learnt a lot. During the first IPL, I was probably a spoilt kid then and now I realise the importance of coming back into the Indian team. Having got a chance, done well and then being left out, I realise the importance of getting back and working hard and if I get back, then to stay there, be focused and work on whatever I need to. So you can say that I have matured in the last two years, but there’s still a long way to go,” he explained.

Kohli thought the maturity he is showing in cricket is also helping him develop as a matured person off the field as well. “When you are so passionate about what you are doing, if you tend to get matured in that particular field then you tend to get matured otherwise in life as well. Cricket is everything I have and if I start thinking in a matured way in cricket, that obviously affects my life as well because that is so much attached to my life. I haven’t done anything technically to be really honest. I have just taught myself to be more mentally strong and the more you start performing, the more you get confident and the more you have faith in yourself that you can go and perform anywhere,” he pointed out.

There also have been some significant incidents in Kohli’s life that have grow up as cricketer the most important being the Emerging Players’ tournament in Australia where his performances won him a place in the one-day side against Sri Lanka. “The most important thing that probably changed the face of my career was the Emerging... tournament, in which I got the best batsman (award) among four countries. That was the time I really realised that I could go out there and perform at any level,” he said.

“Also when I was left out of the team, it actually stuck me because that made my resolve stronger to make a comeback. And subsequently I was the highest run-getter in the one-day domestic tournament. That really helped me a lot in boosting my confidence.”

‘I want to be a good Test player’
While T20 is fast catching up with youngsters, Virat Kohli’s assertion that his priority was to be a good Test player comes as a refreshing change. “It’s the way cricket is shaping up and you can’t do anything about it,” replied Kohli when asked about the popularity of T20. “But the ultimate goal for any cricketer is to be part of the Test team and be a Test player for India. I have that goal personally. Obviously a lot of people coming up will be fascinated by T20 and it’s going to be difficult for people who are coming in now. The time our batch came, T20 was still new but as I grew up playing cricket, I always thought that I want to be a Test player. I never thought that I am going to be in the T20 squad or playing in IPL.” 

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