Virat Kohli knows he is in good form. “I would love to preserve it,” he said.
Two centuries in his last three Tests and five in his last nine One-Day Internationals clearly make him the batsman to watch. He knows this too.
“I have been in that kind of zone for a while and I hope I continue to be in that zone for a long time,” said the dashing Delhi batsman at the end of a “decent” stint in the ‘nets’ at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Saturday.
Kohli is excited and confident on the eve of what can be a defining season for the 23-year-old. Eight Tests, four each against England and Australia, should give him the platform to assert his prowess. His potential has been well defined since his debut four years ago. He wants to cement it.
“It is important to get back into the Test mode. It is not easy. I experienced that in the New Zealand series. In the first match I couldn’t stop my bat on a few occasions and paid the price, getting out (for a 58) when I should have converted it into a big hundred. I want to get back into the zone of being patient.”
In fact, patience has been Kohli’s virtue. The significance of building an innings has been ingrained in his system from formative years in cricket education.
Kohli is flexible in his approach to batting. “I have always believed that in the Test format I just want to play every match. I don’t really mind any position in Tests as long as I am playing the game. As of now I am pretty happy where I am batting. In future if I am needed to bat at No. 3 I am ready because I have batted at this position not only for India in one-dayers but Delhi as well. I am really keen to bat at any position the team wants me to.”
A lot is said about his attitude and approach. Kohli is not perturbed. “I don’t really pay attention to a lot of things that are being said about me or what people discuss about me,” he said. “For me, it is about enjoying my role and game. It doesn’t matter how many runs you have scored or what position or what role you play in the team.”
The absence of Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman has only made him strong mentally. “Now that two of our best batsmen have retired it puts more responsibility on us to play that role pretty early on in our career. I feel it is a great thing for us. You just don’t want to be on the sidelines. It is better to get into the middle and come out on top of it.”
Playing the short ball
Why do people say Indian batsman can’t play the short ball, Kohli counters a query on technique!
“Most of them play it so beautifully; a good bouncer can trouble any batsman in the world. If someone bowls a good bouncer it is a good bouncer. If you get out to that then give the bowler the credit. If you get out to a cover-drive nine times out of 10 then no one talks about it, but getting out to a short ball becomes different. I have never seen Indians bounced out in any Test match that I have seen.”