Mumbai: Why is failure in one series a matter of “life and death” for sub-continent cricketers, wondered India captain Virat Kohli, asserting he never plays for redemption.
Kohli was speaking hours before setting off for England to compete in the ICC Champions Trophy, where India will hope to defend the silverware they won three summers ago.
“For me I feel that you improve as a cricketer every series that you play. Sometimes, not in our own heads but the atmosphere around us is built in a way that becomes like a life and death kind of series and specially for sub-continent cricketers, which I don’t understand why,” he said here today.
India will open their campaign with a high-profile match against arch-rivals Pakistan in Birmingham on 4 June. Kohli said that his sole ambition is to win matches for India.
“If players don’t do well in India and then go back, there is no hype around it, you don’t do well away from India it is like a knife hanging on your neck, so I don’t believe in those things.
“I would never play for redemption, my only motivation is to keep winning games for my country and doesn’t matter the conditions I am playing in, it might be in sub-continent, it might be England, Australia, South Africa, the aim always is to win games and I am willing to do whatever I can to be able to achieve that for the team.”
The batting mainstay then sought to take things easy.
“People might look at it redemption, opportunity or stuff like that but in my head I don’t think of those things at all, for me it’s a game of cricket played anywhere in the world.”
The Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore finished last in the Indian Premier League, prompting him to say that the past season made him aware of his limitations.
“After the kind of season we (India) had, when you have a tournament like that (IPL), it teaches you lot about yourself as person at few levels, from the mindset point of view it made me realise that you can’t possibly do everything in every game, and sometimes people might start looking at you like that, but as a human being you need to understand your limitations as well sometimes and you need to take a backward step.”
The right-handed batsman said that almost everything went against them this IPL season.
“Sometimes it was so bizarre, everything we tried was just going against us, I have never experienced that in a side, not all 11, all the 15 guys were in the same mindset, I have never seen that, it was quite bizarre, may be to teach me that you need to balance things out and take a backward step in how much you can do on the field.
“… In how much intensely you can play with, may be chose your phases and as I keep getting older, those things need to be a learning as well, you don’t want to burn out too quickly as well.”
The 28-year-old further added, “Those were the biggest learning for me and I was pretty fortunate to experience that kind of a time and (it) teaches you lot as captain, teaches you lot composure wise and you take away lot from failures and that’s something I have always cherished,” Kohli signed off.
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