Youngsters out to prove themselves: Kohli

Virat Kohli in action Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

Port of Spain (Trinidad): Jun 9, 2011

After guiding India to a seven-wicket victory over the West Indies in the second ODI with his match winning 81-run knock, Virat Kohli said the pressure situations bring the best out of the current bunch of Indian players.

“The young Indians players want to handle pressure. We want to improve in every game. Take as much responsibility as we can. We want to make use of every opportunity,” said Kohli at the post-match press conference.

Chasing a target of 241 on a sluggish wicket, Kohli played a stellar hand, first partnering opener Parthiv Patel (56) for 120-run second wicket stand and then withstanding a little tremor induced by the rain breaks.

Revealing that the Indian team think-tank wants him, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma to take on as much responsibility as they could in the on-going ODI series, Kohli said, “We have been around for sometime and so are expected to take most of the responsibility to ensure that others bat with a lot more freedom, without much pressure.”

Kohli also disclosed that the instruction is — at least one of the top three batsmen must bat through, or at least till the first 30 overs.

“We have decided that the top three must bat through or at least till 30 overs,” said Kohli.

The 22-year-old, who completed his 2000 runs in ODIs that took him only 53 innings — the second fastest behind the joint record holder Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sourav Ganguly (52 innings each), said he does not want to set a target for himself in this series.

“It would be a pressure. At number three, I could be going to bat in the first or in the 16th over. I wouldn’t like to have this pressure,” said Kohli.

The youngster, who was criticised for his attitude during his early cricketing career, admitted that he was getting astray and needed to pull himself back on the track.

“I was determined to transform myself. I was getting carried away, off the field, which wasn’t good. But then everyone around you lets you know, the word spreads and you realise that you got to change. I had to decide myself, no one can help you with such a decision,” said Kohli.

“I reminded myself that not many get to play for India. I had to set my priority. It’s a massive privilege, a huge motivation,” he added.

For someone who values playing for India so much, Kohli is surprisingly always in a very relaxed mood in the middle and never appears to be in a state of panic.

“Earlier, there were occasions when I had a rush of blood. It cost me, my team. Now I know that if I stay long enough, I could change gear and things would never go out of control.

“You know you have strokes, you could be patient, learn to respect good balls. Batting at number three gives me this advantage,” he explained.

Kohli said rather than emulating the seniors in the team, he likes to play his style of cricket.

“For instance, in the first game of World Cup, if I had tried to ape Veeru bhai (where he blasted Bangladesh for 153 runs), I would have been out for 40.

“You don’t compare yourself with Sachin or Dhoni. They have seen that, done that. You admire them but then you have to be yourself.”

Speaking on the second ODI, Kohli said the new ball was coming on to the bat but the old ball was sometimes skidding and when pitched on a dry area, was stopping.

“It still was as slow as the first One-day wicket with the old ball,” said Kohli.