Absence of seniors increases our responsibility: Kohli

Virat Kohli’s success will be a crucial for India in absence of senior players Getty Image

Mumbai: May 23, 2011

Amidst demands of a break for Indian cricketers following a long cricket season, which included their ICC World Cup triumph and the ongoing IPL, Virat Kohli said that he is willing to play as many matches as possible for the country.

“I have no fitness problems. I want to play as much as possible. I don’t think I can talk about rest now. I’m eager to play more cricket, pretty excited to go to the West Indies,” the 22-year-old cricketer from Delhi told reporters during a promotional event.

Kohli said with seniors like Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Zaheer Khan skipping the five-match ODI series and the lone T20 tie in the Caribbean, the youngsters will have to take more responsibility during the tour, beginning next month.

“It is a big series for us. With the seniors not there the responsibility on us increases. After the World Cup win, it is important for us to do well. People expect us to do well. There is a lot of pressure on us. If we do well then it would be good for our careers,” he said.

Following Royal Challengers Bangalore’s comfortable win over defending champions Chennai Super Kings in their last league match, the confidence of the team going into the play-offs, where it faces the same opposition has increased, said RCB batsman Kohli.

“Following the win we are high on confidence. We will be positive and in a good frame of mind. It does give us an advantage,” he added. Kohli said the inclusion of flamboyant West Indian batsman Chris Gayle had made a big difference to the side.

“Gayle’s arrival has been very positive for the team. It has made a big difference. He has brought a positive energy in the team. But others have done well too. Bowlers bowled well. Fielding has improved too. But yes, Gayle has made a big difference,” he said.

Meanwhile, orange-cap holder Gayle, who has bagged five man-of-the-match awards in nine games having scored 511 runs, said he had not expected such a dream-run.

“I came here late. I didn’t expect to be here. Things have gone differently than I have expected. Hopefully, we will finish it off in a similar way. Tuesday is an important day for us. We are looking forward to the game and expecting good things from the bowlers. We are peaking at the right time,” Gayle said.

Skipper Daniel Vettori favoured the play-offs system, used for the first time in the Indian Premier League (IPL), saying that it gives the top two teams doing consistently well in the tournament another opportunity in case they had a bad day in knock-out games.

Asked whether he had fully recovered from his injury, he said, “I’m ok, yeah.”