Virat Kohli on Friday hit back at critics who have been calling for his head after a string of poor performances during the ongoing four-Test series against Australia.
Kohli has so far played just six Test matches but in the current series Down Under, he failed miserably with his highest score being 44, which he made in the first innings on the opening day of the third Test here.
“I don't know why people are after me. Even after I made two 50s against the West Indies, after just one Test it was as if I was on the verge of being dropped. Hitting eight ODI hundreds can't be a fluke, after all that is international cricket too,” said Kohli here.
“I have learnt as much as I can but I have played just six Tests. It would help me in future. It's not the end of the world nor the last series ever played. I have to keep working hard and not worry about being dropped,” he added.
The 23-year-old didn't feel batting at No. 3 — his favourite position in ODIs —is the solution. “I don't want an easy way out. I want to bat in tough situations and learn from that experience. I don't want to play safe,” said Kohli, who has been batting at No. 6 in the series.
Kohli said he had made a few technical adjustments before he came in to bat in this Test.
“I had decided to play straight and not towards onside early on. That's what I practised in the nets on the last two days. I went in with a plan.”
The top-scorer in India's paltry 161, Kohli lamented the fact that his team is losing wickets at critical junctures throughout this Test series
“We are losing wickets in important phases — just before lunch, tea or close. We lose wickets at important moments of the match. We had put on 80 runs (for the fifth wicket) and were looking to convert it to 150. But we couldn't and that's what is happening,” said Kohli.
Kohli felt the wicket had a lot to offer by way of seam in the first session though it did flatten out thereafter.
“They bowled well and forced ourselves to play shots ...but there are still four days to go. Anything can happen in cricket. They could lose wickets in a cluster. It's a funny game,” he said.
Kohli also mentioned the little verbal duel he got into with Warner in the last session of play. “They have been saying a lot about averages to Indian batsmen. Warner and Cowan, Ishant and myself got a bit into that stuff. It goes on in cricket.
Meanwhile, Warner, after blasting the second-fastest Test century at the WACA Ground, said he went into the third Test with serious doubts about his ability to perform in Perth.
His fears were compounded when he struggled for form in the nets before the match, culminating in being bowled by Mitchell Starc.
“I said ‘I give up, I can't work in this environment',” he said of his reaction when Starc bowled him. “I couldn't lay bat on ball.”
Warner believes the turning point was his decision to have a bat during the optional net session on the eve of the Test.
“It wasn't the pace and bounce, it was my head and my balance and getting still,” he said.
“JL (batting coach Justin Langer) and (coach) Mickey Arthur said I was falling away and over my front leg.
“That is what I was working on this week. I found it in the last session, I wasn't going to have an optional net, I was going to stay at home and clear my mind.
“But I said to myself I really needed to go down there and have that last hit and I hit for two hours.”
Warner said the banter with Kohli and Ishant early in his innings only helped motivate him and his fellow opener Ed Cowan.
“Virat was saying to us ‘you can talk about your averages and this and that but when we go to India it's going to be a different story',” Warner recounted.
“With myself and Ed, if you start having a go at us we actually enjoy that. “We love a little contest out there and we love to grind it back in their faces and that's what we've done today.”