It will be a milestone moment for Virat Kohli when he walks in for the toss against South Africa at the Gahunje Stadium here on Tuesday. After all, it will be his 50th Test outing as the India skipper, and Kohli - who loves keeping things simple - is excited.
“I only feel that I am lucky enough to be in this position. I am very grateful that I have been able to play so many games for India, let alone captaining so many games. It’s a nice little landmark,” Kohli told bcci.tv on the eve of the second Test against South Africa.
Taking over from Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 2014, Kohli’s record as a skipper has been enviable. Of the 49 Tests that he has led India, the team has managed to win on 29 occasions, while there have been 10 draws and equal number of defeats.
Under his captaincy, the team has managed to maintain a cent per cent winning record in the ICC World Test Championship, so far. And, Kohli wants to keep the momentum going.
“The focus is to win as many Test matches as possible. Just win every game that we can. Stats and numbers have never mattered to me. They don’t. When the Board, the team recognises these small little things, it means something to you as a player,” Kohli said.
On Wednesday, the captain made himself available for the training, even though it was an optional session. The captain batted at the nets for a while, before having a look at the wicket, along with head coach Ravi Shastri.
As the captain walked back to the dressing room - his face covered in the towel - after a batting session in hot and humid conditions, the net bowlers and a few fans - who had gathered to see India’s practice session - cheered for their favourite cricketer and within moments, selfie requests poured in.
With the local security manager and the team staff ensuring that the players were not disturbed, even the ball boys were asked to take group picture with Kohli and other cricketers.
“We strictly asked the group to not take selfies because that would disturb the cricketers. It is also important in terms of security issues,” one of the local organisers said.
But all that could not stop the fans from clicking pictures. Even some of the policemen, on duty, could be seen clicking pictures of Kohli and his men.
Even though the Indian cricketers looked calm and composed during the practice session, their intent was to keep the momentum going.
Since January 2013, India has played 30 Tests at home and has won 24, drawn five and lost just one - against Australia in Pune, two years ago.
Even though the Indian team clinched the next Test to win the series then, the fact that a star-studded batting line-up collapsed inside three days, still hurt the side.
So, in Kohli’s milestone game, India will aim to fix the Pune blip!
- WPL 2024: Defending champion Mumbai Indians clashes against Delhi Capitals in opener
- Indian sports wrap, February 22
- Jamshedpur FC vs East Bengal, ISL 10 Highlights: JFC 2-1 EBFC, Manzorro nets winner
- PKL 2023-24 Points Table: Puneri on top; Telugu Titans at bottom after league stage in season 10
- Former England goalkeeper Joe Hart to retire at end of season