Cricket

Kohli: Can see a cultural shift in the last two, three years in Indian cricket

Indian captain Virat Kohli sips a drink during a press conference ahead of the first T20 international against Sri Lanka in Guwahati, on January 4, 2020.

Indian captain Virat Kohli sips a drink during a press conference ahead of the first T20 international against Sri Lanka in Guwahati, on January 4, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AP

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In his first address to his team mates in the New Year, prior to its practice session, Kohli spoke about five minutes as the whole Indian side stood in a circle

India captain Virat Kohli on Saturday spoke like a statesman when he revealed what message he sent across to his team ahead of the year’s first assignment, the T20 series opener against Sri Lanka at the ACA Stadium, Barsapara, here on Sunday.

In his first address to his team mates in the New Year, prior to its practice session, Kohli spoke about five minutes as the whole Indian side stood in a circle.

When asked about the short talk, Kohli, at the pre-match press conference, smiled and said, “I see a cultural shift in the last two, three years in Indian cricket. And it's about playing for the team and not thinking as individuals. From a very young age, we were always focused on what we did as individuals. Even when we came back from a match, we were invariably asked, ‘What did you do?’ rather than ‘Did the team win?’

“I think that's a mindset change. I see that happening at a very big level where they have started to appreciate small performances of guys who might have taken a catch or a great run out and it turned the whole match. So, the chat was to embrace that culture, take it forward, and, you know, just strengthen this mindset through the whole cricketing setup, circuit through the country to all age groups.

“We get involved in the rat race to an extent where we can go into our individual cocoons a lot of times and that can hamper the team at an important stage. Because we played so well as a team, it's important to understand that team is what matters the most. Another team will come in future. Individuals can't stay forever...As sportsman, we can tend to take a lot of pressure in our own performances. Once you focus on the team, the pressure goes away and you do things that you can't imagine otherwise. So, the chat was basically to keep this culture going and eventually change the whole mindset of guys coming in as well.”

Kohli, who liked the competition within the side, hoped to carry forward the good work of 2019 and do well in ICC events, including the upcoming T20 World Cup.

“We want to continue the same things. We have put the team on the right track in terms of being the team that everyone wants to be across formats. That is a very exciting position to be in…It's very important to understand there's a lot of young influence that's coming into the team now. And they need to be able to take the same culture and the same mindset forward.

“Next few series are going to be very exciting to see who stands up in pressure situations, how they react under pressure…We need guys who are ready till six and seven to win you matches. It can’t be dependent on two or three guys in the batting lineup. That's not how you win ICC tournaments,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 5:57:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/kohli-can-see-a-cultural-shift-in-the-last-two-three-years-in-indian-cricket/article30481823.ece

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