Despite missing the last Test against Australia and the initial phase of the Indian Premier League owing to a shoulder injury, Virat Kohli was on a high when he joined the Royal Challengers Bangalore camp. However, halfway into the tournament, Kohli’s team had to face the challenge of getting done with its games, having virtually been out of contention for a place in the top-four.
Even though he didn’t fare badly as a batsman, Kohli, at times, appeared hapless as the star-studded RCB slid to multiple defeats, even recording the lowest total in the IPL history. Having tasted success all the way through India’s prolonged home season, it was a bitter pill to swallow for Kohli. The man resorted to philosophical approach while dealing with the phase.
“It was so bizarre everything that we tried was going against us. Never experienced that. Not just 11 but all 15 in the squad were all in the same mindset. Maybe it was to teach me to take a step back and think about how much intensity with which you can play,” Kohli said while lamenting on the learnings from the IPL campaign ahead of India's departure for the Champions Trophy.
“As I keep getting older those things are important and you need to avoid burnout too quickly. Those were the biggest learnings for me. I was pretty fortunate that I got to experience such a time. It teaches you a lot as captain, it teaches you a lot, composure-wise. You take a lot away from failures which is what I have always cherished.”
Redemption? What’s that!
Kohli, incidentally, will return to England for the first time after his disastrous outing in England three years ago. In five Test matches in 2014, Kohli’s technique was exposed as he tallied 134 runs in 10 innings with a highest of 39. He couldn’t turn the tide in the ODI series that followed either, scoring 54 runs in four innings.
When Kohli was asked if he was looking at the Champions Trophy as an opportunity to redeem himself, he flatly denied any such connotation.
“The atmosphere around us is built like life and death, especially for cricketers from the subcontinent. We do well in India, there is no hype around it. We don’t do well overseas, it’s like a knife hanging over your head,” he said.
“The only motivation is to play well for your country. It does not matter where you play, the aim is to win matches. People might say it is a question of life and death or redemption, but it’s not the case for me. It’s just like any other tournament.”