IND vs AUS: 'We're okay playing without any altercation,' says Kohli

India skipper Virat Kohli said that his team won't get involved in any altercations as long as the Australians don't start.

India skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri address the media before the team's departure to Australia.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

The recent structural changes in Cricket Australia has had multiple effects. While some heads have rolled, the governing body has made it a point to encourage fair play -- something that’s contrasting to its old motto of ‘win at any cost’.

While the Australian players are refraining from sledging these days, India captain, Virat Kohli, is perfectly fine with it. Ahead of the team’s departure to Australia on Thursday, the Indian captain admitted that he is ‘completely okay playing without any altercation’.

Referring to the no-sledging policy as a ‘personal thing’ for the Aussies, Kohli said he is happy with his ‘own space’.

“On a personal level, I don’t find a reason to (know) these things anymore. I have enough belief in my ability that I can play without a reason to pump myself up,” he said.

Admitting that he would get carried away a bit on the field in the early stages of his career, Kohli said: “Those were immature things that I used to pump on in the early days of my career, so that I can feel pumped up and don’t feel all that pressure.”

Now, as captain, there is ‘no room for anything but to think of what the team wants all the time.’

India skipper Virat Kohli said that the Indian team is ready for the Australian challenge.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

He pointed out that Indian players have never started such a thing and have only reacted to such situations in the past. “You don’t find the need for all that. We were always the ones giving it back and never starting it. As long as it doesn’t start, we have no problem in focusing on our game and do what we need to. We don’t necessarily need to look for something. If they want to look at a certain way, we will reciprocate it. That’s how, the game of cricket goes but we have to keep it competitive and make sure we don’t drop our energies,” Kohli said.

Kohli stated that the team has room for improvement. “That is something we realise as a team also. We understand what we need to work on so it is up to the individuals to take ownership of that,” said Kohli, referring to the batting department.

He also revealed that the team discussed a lot after England tour to find out what went wrong. “We felt there was not a lot that we did wrong but whatever was not right went extreme. We played good cricket but the mistakes were also very extreme,” Kohli said.

Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri during a training session at Adelaide in Australia in 2014.   -  Getty Images

The Indian skipper revealed that from the team management’s point of view, ‘things are explained in a proper way where people are told what needs to be done in a situation.’ But then, it is up to the individuals to execute it well.

“If I am told that its a difficult situation, I need to find a way. Nobody can tell me every ball or shot that I need to play. Nobody can tell me the decisions I make, because I am out there. So, at that very moment when you are playing every ball, the focus has to be precisely on what the team wants.

“(At times it) falls, may be because of some people feel the pressure of not scoring runs or the situations, it varies. It is important to get your focus back to what the team wants. Do something special and bail the team out. When you win Test matches, you see those kind of performances,” he said.

Kohli also pointed out that it is important to remember what went right for the team. “It’s not about forgetting a victory and enjoying it. It is about learning from them as well. So that we can repeat and that’s consistency. We need to be consistent as a team,” he said.

“Each individual has to sit down and think what they did -- whether we lost or won. The vision will be provided, the decision-making is a individual thing, which everyone has to do,” he said.

Though the batsmen struggled in England and Australia, the bowlers did well in the last two away tours. But the captain wants every department to fire.

“From the last time we went there (to Australia), fitness levels of the bowlers are surely up, which is the most important factor in Australia. The pitches can get boring at times, the Kookaburra doesn’t do much. So, it is about maintaining the pace with which you start your day,” he said.

Virat Kohli top scored in the recent Test series between India and England with 593 runs.   -  Getty Images

 

Instances were drawn of South Africa, which has won a Test series in Australia in recent times. “That is why South Africa have done well. They had Mornie Morkel, Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and now Kagiso Rabada. They relentlessly bowled in the right areas to get those wickets. Our guys are surely capable to do a similar job but I don’t want to focus on that. The batsmen need to step up as well,” the captain opined.

Ahead of the long tour, the captain also made it clear that it is extremely important for the lower-order to score runs. “The lower-order contribution is crucial. It made the difference in the England series.”

The specialist batsmen cannot afford to repeat the mistakes committed in England, stressed Kohli. “Apart from Lord’s, we were not bundled out in one session. We batted well in patches. What happens is that when you have a bad session with the bat, you could end up losing the game and that can dent you mentally. The challenge is to overcome that,” he said.

“When you play overseas, they are not going to let you dominate. We have to understand how to control the situation (after a collapse). And if that happens in any case, we should know how to refresh rather than pile it on in our heads,” the captain added.

As the team gets ready for a challenge Down Under, Kohli’s mantra is quite simple: ’stay in the present and not think of anything else.’