Virat Kohli: New Zealand plays in the 'absolute right manner'

The New Zealand team maintains a right balance between respect for opponents and 'intensity' on the field, says India captain Virat Kohli.

Virat Kohli is happy to stay away from the glare of the public eye for a while. File Photo: AFP

Virat Kohli, the India captain, has voiced his appreciation for the brand of cricket played by the New Zealand cricket team. According to Kohli, the Kiwis maintain a "perfect balance" between "competitiveness" and "respecting the opponents."

Many of his team members maintain good friendships with players from New Zealand, revealed Kohli.

In an interview posted by the BCCI, Kohli said, "[New Zealand] are probably one team that plays in the absolute right manner. But their body language and their intensity is right up there which I feel is the perfect balance for any sports team. There is so much to learn from them, in terms of their competitiveness but at the same time, respecting the opponents, maintaining friendships as well. We're quite close to a lot of the boys because we play IPL together and we get along really, really well with them. That has been maintained for years because of the mutual respect. The cricket is competitive but it's very, very enjoyable."

'Love of the game'

Competitiveness is something Kohli revels in as well. He reiterated that the driving force behind his cricket is "the passion that I have of playing for my country," and not personal statistics.

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He said, "I play the game because of the joy that I have when I play on the field. Purely the love of the game, and the passion that I have of playing for my country. If I get attached to stats, that means my graph is going down and there is something wrong in my head. I personally cannot play with that kind of mindset. I cannot stand on the field thinking 'I have to do something for myself.' For me, diving every ball for my team is what matters more than thinking about how many runs I have scored."

The tour of New Zealand has been soothing for Kohli, he revealed, as he could enjoy some sights in a country known for its natural beauty, as well as get away from the glare of the public eye.

'Very calming, very relaxing'

Virat Kohli with Anushka Sharma, his wife, at the Australian Open. The couple like to do "normal things," Kohli revealed in the interview. Photo: AP

 

He said, "We always love coming to New Zealand. It's a beautiful part of the world, and probably one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Very calming, very relaxing, and you get places like this to practise which is quite remarkable. It's a place we all enjoy our cricket."

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He added, "Especially, with the kind of fan base that we have, and once you're known, once you're playing for India for 10 years, and people like you, it's very difficult to get away with a lot of things. But I think New Zealand is one place where even when people come for autographs or pictures, they never too forthcoming — they never force you to do anything. They have a good concept of respecting your space which I really like."

Joy in 'simplest things'

Kohli also revealed what he liked to do when touring New Zealand, off the field of play. He said, "Me and my wife look to do normal things. We just like going around for walks. If you have a place like Napier, it's beautiful. Last night we were at the Marine Parade; the full moon, we're just enjoying that sitting on the bench. Talking. It's actually the simplest things that give us a lot of joy, purely because we're always in the public eye."

India finishes its limited-overs assignments in New Zealand in February, round the tour off with a three-match Twenty20 series.

Its next assignment is the third ODI in Mount Maunganui on Monday.

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