Virat Kohli in his candid chat with fellow-teammate and India’s leading off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin opened up various aspects of his life. Sharing a few memorable experiences, Virat Kohli left no stone unturned. He was honest and straightforward and answered every question with the same passion as he would enter the cricket field with. The interview also marked the season finale of Ashwin’s ‘Reminisce with Ash’ series.
Virat Kohli: The master of Run Chases
The Hobart Special:
Virat Kohli’s inhuman ability to chase down huge targets with ease have been evident throughout his cricketing journey. Ashwin in his interview, tried to explore the little nuances in Virat’s approach and plan towards it. Talking about Virat’s famous 133* at Hobart in a game where India desperately deserved a bonus point (chase 321 in 40 overs), he said, “I remember that whole season from that Test hundred in Adelaide to the ODI matches, that was the season where I realised many things about my game, you want to be that guy who wants to be feared. This led to the innings that you were talking about and yes it was quite special.”
“When we were warming up, the chat was not all that optimistic I still remember because our chances were very bleak, we did not have a successful Australia tour and the motivation factor was very low. The bonus point was something which we weren’t even thinking about. It was strange and suddenly out of nowhere we got that boost, Sachin paaji and Viru bhai had a brilliant partnership at the front, Gauti (Gautam Gambhir) bhai and me had a good partnership.”
“Then Raina came and changed the momentum of the game and then he and I discussed that we need to break it down into two T20 games and that was the first kind of revelation for chasing the big totals for me.” Virat and Raina took only 10 overs to score the last 120 odd runs, winning India the bonus point with 3 overs to spare. They neutralised the spin threat and scored as many as 96 from Malinga’s 7.4 overs. It was arguably one of the worst bowling spells the slinging arm, even at its prime, had ever witnessed.
Miracle against Pakistan:
Virat followed that knock with a mammoth 183 chasing 329 against Pakistan at Dhaka in the consequent quadrangular series. He countered the spin threat of Saeed Ajmal with an innocent ease and ran through the Pakistan bowling attack.
“I told myself that I am going to start playing him (Ajmal) like a legspinner because his doosra was quite difficult to face and his offspinner was not that lethal. So I said I am going to try and hit him over cover consistently, and it just paid off. As soon as I negated his doosra, the potency of his threat became lesser and lesser,” Kohli told Ashwin during the chat.
It all set the juggernaut in motion for the Delhi-born cricketer as he went on to plunder run chases at will.
Virat Kohli credits MS Dhoni for this captaincy:
Virat in the interview, expressed his constant desire to be in the playing XI regularly. He further said that he was fine with not playing matches but wanted to be discussed about in the team meetings as a future prospect.
Right from his U19 days, Virat never shied away from responsibility and he believes it was his fearlessness that took him to places in a good way. He voices his opinions from time to time, suggesting changes to even the geniuses of MS Dhoni. “Standing at first slip, I was always in MS’s ears, standing next to him, ‘yeh kar sakte ho, woh kar sakte ho (can we try these things) what do you think,’ he would deny a lot of things but he would discuss a lot of things as well, so he got a lot of confidence that I can do this (captain) after him.”
He therefore credited Dhoni for being a driving force at appointing Virat as the next captain. The 31-year old has always credited the former Indian captain for his prowess at the sport and his camaraderie with the wicketkeeper has been evident even on field.
“I think a large portion of me becoming captain was also to do with him (MSD) observing me for a long period of time. It just can’t happen like he goes and selectors say ‘you become captain’. The guy who is there, he takes responsibility and says okay I think this is the next guy and I will tell you how he is going and then slowly that transition is formed.”
The candid chat that continued also saw Virat talk about his belief in spirituality and how over the years he has managed to keep up with the increasing fame. The cricketer mentioned that Anushka’s support and understanding has helped him to become a better person.
Towards the end of this fruitful interaction, Ashwin’s daughters sprung in to greet Uncle Virat. All in all it was a pleasant treat for every cricketing fan around the world.