Australian challenge inspires Kohli

Australian challenge inspires Kohli

Virat Kohli

History, Virat Kohli asserted, doesn’t matter to him but he couldn’t help slipping back in time and recount the progress the team has made under his captaincy.

It was here at the Sydney Cricket Ground, a venue with a storied history, that Kohli’s journey as India’s full-time Test captain began in 2015 when M S Dhoni made a shock retirement announcement following the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. India were ranked 7th at that time and as they return to the venue for the final Test, primed to win the series having taken a 2-1 lead, they sit atop the Test rankings. It’s been quite a transition for the team.       

“Well, I don’t know because it’s only been four years (since I have been a captain),” Kohli said when asked if winning the series would be his greatest achievement as captain. “If it happens, it’s great because I have come here the third time on a Test tour and I know how difficult it is to win here. Not necessarily your own performances because, at times, you can put in a good performance in Australia but to win as a team has been the biggest challenge for us and individual performances, honestly, are something that you don’t even remember in the last two tours because winning is the most important thing at the end of the day. You might have your name up on the honours board but if your team doesn’t win, it doesn’t really matter,” he offered.

The Indian skipper, who emphasises on being obsessed about winning away from home, wants to leave a lasting legacy behind him.  

“It would definitely be a big series win not just for me but for the whole team purely because of the fact that this is the place where we started our transition. When MS gave up captaincy, we had a totally young side starting at six or seven (ranking) in the world and we come back here as the No 1 side in the world and we want to take that legacy forward. As I said, we just want to play the kind of cricket that we have played in this series which has been exciting for the people to watch and both teams competing in it as well,” he remarked.

On the verge of an unprecedented series win, Kohli was asked if history mattered to him, and the right-hander replied with a firm “no,” stressing on the importance of staying in the present.

“What’s gone is not in our control and what is going to come is not something you need to think about,” he said. “We need to stay in the present and focus on the things we can do. The controllable, we need to figure out what they are and focus on them. The reason why we want to win this Test is we understand as cricketers how difficult it is to come here and play. It’s not only the team you are playing against, it’s the whole nation because they get behind the team so well. When you walk in to bat, you feel there are 40,000 people who want your wicket, not just the 11 guys on the field. So, we understand as cricketers how difficult it is and purely just to take that challenge on, we want to win here.”