Staying calm paid off: Kohli
Mirpur, Mar 14: Virat Kohli (108) hit a second consecutive century against Sri Lanka to help set up a stiff target for the opposition in India’s first game of the Asia Cup 2012 at the Shere Bangla National Stadium. The newly appointed vice-captain, who came in at the No. 3 spot, was involved in a 205-run partnership with Gautam Gambhir (100). Kohli spoke about pacing his innings and batting with his senior partner in the post-match media conference. Excerpts:
On his batting
It was very different from Australia; we have been playing [there] for three months and the key was to adjust to the conditions. We just got one practice session [here in Dhaka]. It was hard to just go in there and make up your mind [saying], ‘It is going to be difficult and you have to work hard for your runs’. And to be able to calm myself down when I really wanted to hit a four. Taking three singles instead of hitting a four really leaves you with satisfaction afterwards. So it was more of challenge for me to calm myself down because [when you] have been hitting the ball well, you tend to get carried away and go for the brash shot. I just kept calming myself down in the middle and eventually it paid off.
On batting with Gautam Gambhir
It is always special when I bat with him. We have had about three double-hundred partnerships now in one-dayers. It is always a special feeling to bat with him because he understands my game and I understand his game and we run well between the wickets and we sort of know when to step it up in the middle. When we are playing, we don’t have to say much to each other; we just have to understand what’s going on. It is always a pleasure to bat with him. I am very happy that we were able to string in one more partnership and we both got hundreds, so it is very satisfying.
On being vice-captain
It is a big honour for me. But I haven’t thought of it as my position in the team has changed now. I haven’t seen myself any differently after that has been announced […] What I can do is work harder and make sure that I put in performances so that the team wins. The kind of position I bat at, I have to take up responsibility [...].
On his innings
It is very easy to get carried away when you are hitting the ball well. It is very easy to go in there and see the field up and try to clear the [ropes]. But then you end up getting out on 15 or 20 runs and you end up thinking it was a good wicket to bat on and I should have shown a bit of patience out there and got the results afterwards. So I thought of that in the middle rather than making a mistake. Sometimes you need to calm yourself down when you are hitting the ball well rather than staying in that zone and going after the bowling. Sometimes calming yourself down works for you and it worked out well for me today.
On the wicket and batting at the Shere Bangla National Stadium
It is my third hundred here at this ground. I love this ground. It is a good wicket to bat on, slow in the afternoon and better in the evening. It is a good outfield; any batsman would love to play here. I try to make the most of any opportunity that I get and yes, it is a ground where I like playing.
On Sri Lanka’s batting
Mahela [Jayawardene] batted wonderfully. We didn’t bowl badly when he was batting. He played some amazing shots. The way he was batting, he was taking the game away from us but it is all about getting the important breakthroughs and coming back into the game. He was stringing in a good partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne and obviously it threatened us a bit. But as I said, our bowlers got us crucial breakthroughs at important times. But at the same time, they both batted beautifully and it was a bit of a threat for us.
On the preparation going into the match
[...] You need to tune yourself mentally before you go into a game thinking of the conditions and you have to make technical changes as well because you just can’t keep playing upright in the sub-continent. You need to get on top of the ball and you need to work harder for the runs if the ball is not coming on to the bat. [...] The faster you learn, [the better the] results in different conditions, so it is about learning and improving every day.