Kohli: ‘I want to do well in every game’

Addressing the Press on the eve of the fifth ODI here on Friday, Kohli spoke at length on his career, playing in Australia, and the comparisons with Viv Richards made on Australian TV.

"I don’t think about what has really happened in my career so far," says Virat Kohli.   -  Getty Images

Even if results have not gone India’s way, this has been a memorable VB Series for Virat Kohli. He has scored successive hundreds, registered his 25th one-day century, and become the fastest to 7000 ODI runs in the history of the game. Addressing the Press on the eve of the fifth ODI here on Friday, Kohli spoke at length on his career, playing in Australia, and the comparisons with Viv Richards made on Australian TV.

> Listen to Virat Kohli's interaction with the media in Sydney

The excerpts:

7000 runs and 25 tons:

I still think of myself as a club cricketer wanting to do well in every game. I just wanted to win every match for my academy team, remain not out and finish the game off. That was something I’ve always been taught by my coach. I don’t think about what has really happened in my career so far. When you do get reminded of it, you don’t actually discuss it, but you go back to your room and think it’s too surreal to believe. In our heads, we still feel like we’re playing the first game. We have that excitement, that nervousness before we go out to bat. But for the outside world, it’s a number of things — stats, numbers and the career — which we never look at when we enter the field. The moment you start drifting towards that side, you start losing focus on what you have to do and everything starts crumbling.

Viv Richards comparisons:

It’s a good thing we’re not able to hear commentary when we’re playing. Otherwise we’ll be in dreamland and probably get out the next ball. I feel grateful that people make those comments because as a youngster you wouldn’t have thought of being compared to some of the greats of the game. It’s surreal to think about it. It’s better not to think about it. Somewhere you feel that you don’t deserve that comparison because people who played in the previous era had it more difficult with the lack of quality of protective gear and no helmets. If you’re talking of Viv Richards, I can’t even think of playing in a cap. He played all his career in a cap anywhere in the world and he hit fast bowlers with the new ball across the line for sixes over square leg. Even thinking about it sends chills down your spine. That is a different kind of belief and motivation which is very hard to recreate.

Clashes with Faulkner:

It’s just for fun. I don’t go to the field thinking I’m going to fight with someone today. I’m in a good head space. I just like to have a bit of fun with any kind of argument on the field. This time, it has been very different from the last few instances. It’s more been cheeky fun statements than guys swearing at each other or using bad words.

Ravi Shastri’s influence:

He’s helped me more as a batsman. As far as captaincy is concerned, he would like to let people learn themselves. He doesn’t like to interfere too much. He was the one who told me to stand outside the crease and widen my stance after the England tour, and it worked wonders for me in Australia. Then, going back to a narrower stance — again he brought it up with Sanjay Bangar, to help me move better. We felt areas of my game were being blocked. I was not able to play square of the wicket. His contribution has been massive.

The most Australian among Indian batsmen?

I don’t know, that’s the way I’ve always played. Maybe the Australian public relates more to it because the players here have a similar kind of approach. They don’t like to back off from an argument on the field. I come from a city where you always had to fight your way up the system. Those things, and the things that happen in your life, make you mentally tougher. You don’t take unnecessary things being said to you by anyone. I follow that in life and in cricket. As long as I’m working hard and honestly, I don’t really need to explain myself to anyone or prove to anyone that I haven’t done anything wrong. If I’ve done something wrong, I will know it myself and say it.