Delhi: Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who has been on a record-breaking spree of late has been rested for the ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka. After bagging both the man-of-the-match and man-of-the-series awards after the third Test in Delhi where he notched up a total of 293 runs, the 29-year-old spoke about his need for a break.
“Last time I took rest, it was difficult to handle. But my body is asking for it right now. The workload has been massive, I have been playing non-stop for the last 48 months, I need rest. My body has taken a toll in the last couple of years. Right now is the perfect time to rest before the tour of South Africa,” he said.
The Delhi lad went on to add that he discovered that batting in Tests is no different from ODIs and said that it is a revelation that he can score at a quick pace in Test cricket, just like he does in ODIs and T20Is.
He said, “On the personal front, I was hitting the ball very well and it was kind of a revelation that I can play and hit balls in Tests the way I can do in ODIs. That was something I always hesitated to do but this made me realise that you can push the game forward even in Test cricket.”
“There’s nothing called set patterns these days, if you can believe in yourself, you can achieve anything in any format,” added Kohli, who amassed 610 runs in the three-match series.
The Indian skipper scored his sixth double hundred, which is the most by a captain in Test cricket, surpassing West Indian legend Brian Lara, who had five double tons.
The 243 was also his highest score in Test cricket, his previous best being the 235 he scored against England in Mumbai last year.
Kohli also equalled Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag’s record of scoring six double hundreds in Test cricket.
When asked as to what his mindset is when he scored a hundred, he said, “When I was not a captain, it was difficult to think of situations all the time. When I was finding my feet in Test cricket, I was under pressure. When I got to a milestone, I sort of relaxed. Now, it’s a lot different.”
“Now as a captain I have to keep to batting on and on even after I reach hundred or 150 and push forward to put up as many runs on board as possible, or if I am batting in the second innings to create a situation where the bowler can get extra overs to bowl the opposition out later,” he added further.
The Indian team wasn’t that successful in slip fielding and Kohli admitted that this is an area they have to work on before the important tour of South Africa.
“First and second slip, if you practice well, you can get used to it. We’ve identified it as an area we need to work on,” he said.
On Ajinkya Rahane, who has a reputation of having a pair of safe hands not fielding in the slips, Kohli said, “Firstly, from his initial days, Ajinkya has always fielded at gully. It’s a difficult place, and he has very good reflexes and so we trust him there.”
One of the India’s biggest positives from the series has been Rohit Sharma, who resurrected his Test career batting in the middle-order and hasn’t disappointed at all.
Said Kohli, “We’ve always believed he (Rohit) can change the game in the lower middle order. Very happy with the way the batsmen are playing, everyone won’t be able to score in every series, obviously. There are a few areas we have to work on, though.”
But he had no qualms in admitting that he was a bit disappointed at not finishing off the game despite being in control for a good part of the match.
He said, “When you’re not able to finish off in second innings after having them three down on day four, is bit disappointing. But they played well, they showed composure and confidence. The pitch got tired in the end. They (Sri Lankans) did not give us any chances to get into the game.
“In hindsight, if we would’ve grabbed our chances in the first innings, maybe they wouldn’t have got so many runs. We should’ve done better. The slip catching and fielding, we need to work on.”