Kohli, a Ronaldo fan, believes RCB deserves to win IPL

Virat Kohli also said he became a better person by playing Test cricket, calling the format a representation of life, where one doesn’t have the option to quit.

Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli has a hero in Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, who he likes more than Argentine legend Lionel Messi.   -  Getty Images

Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli, on Thursday, during an Instagram live session with former England batsman and RCB teammate Kevin Pietersen, said his IPL side deserves to bag the trophy but the added pressure to perform each season takes away the team's freedom.

"A history of having big players in your side will bring the focus on you. We have played three finals and three semis, but not won the final. Those things are irrelevant until we win that title. Even when we had the best teams we have not been able to win it. We deserve to win that title.

"If you chase something badly it might go away from you. Thinking 'this is the season, this is the season' also adds to the pressure. So we need to get the freedom to play". 

The India skipper, however, said he became a better person by playing Test cricket, calling the format a representation of life, where one doesn’t have the option of quitting when the going gets tough.

“Whether you get runs or not, you have to clap when others are batting. You have to go back to your room, get up and come the next day.

“You have to follow the routine whether you like it or not. It’s like life where you don’t have the option of not competing. Test cricket has made me a better person,” said the premier batsman, who has 27 hundreds and 7240 runs in 86 games.

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Pietersen, a superb Test batsman himself, lauded Kohli for trashing the idea of four-day Tests which the ICC has floated to pull in more crowds.

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India captain Virat Kohli is against the idea of four-day Test matches.   -  AFP

 

“I was called for a debate and I told them that if Virat Kohli doesn’t want four day Tests, it’s not happening,” the former England captain said.

Kohli also spoke about the worst phase of his career, how he turned into a vegan and how much he is filled with gratitude for being able to live a comfortable life during a global crisis like COVID-19.

Talking about becoming a better person, Kohli felt that he can count his blessings of having all the comforts in life at a time when the world is reeling under the havoc wreaked by the virus.

“I am grateful to God that I have a place to live at a time when people are struggling for jobs. You just want to sit back and reflect. You are filled with gratitude. We should never sit back and complain about what we don’t have,” he said.

His aggressive on-field demeanour has polarised opinions but the Indian skipper feels that for him, aggression is a form of enjoyment and then comes thinking about strategy.

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“I don’t think I need to behave myself just because I am the captain. I need to be able to enjoy and then comes strategy.”

But there is one guy he will never sledge in his life and that is AB de Villiers, for the simple reason that there is just too much of respect.

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Virat Kohli has often been labelled as an aggressive player on the field.   -  AFP

 

“IPL has done a lot in terms of respecting each other. I would never ever be able to do it (sledging) with AB. There is a friendship that lasts much longer than all these things.”

In fact, asked to choose two batsmen who he enjoys batting with most, he picks de Villiers alongside former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“I enjoy batting with those who understand my running between the wickets. You have to understand my calls. I have enjoyed batting with MS and with AB, we don’t even need to call as we look at each other and we know.”

About turning vegetarian, Kohli spoke about how he developed a cervical spine problem during the 2018 tour of South Africa.

“I had literally no feel in my little fingers. It was also realised that I had an acidic stomach and the calcium was being pulled from the bones. I stopped eating meat and I never felt better. I can now play two Tests matches with little gap at 120 per cent intensity.”

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As he had said earlier, he would like to play all formats till 2023 and then take a call, he reiterated that the 2014 tour of England was the lowest point of his career when he felt that failure was inevitable.

“It was a phase where I felt that there was no chance of me getting any runs. I would get up and go to a match knowing that I will not get runs. To go through that feeling that you will fail demolished me."

The reason for the disaster in England was putting himself ahead of the team and being “obsessed about his own game and success” and not being able to shut out the voices who spoke about success in England being the ultimate Test of a cricketer.

A hero to millions, Kohli has his heroes too. One among them is Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, who he likes more than Lionel Messi.

“I love his work ethic and ability to deflect all the crap on the outside,” he reasoned.

(With inputs from PTI)

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