Mirpur: Star batsman Virat Kohli has conceded that the Pakistani attack he faced in the Asia Cup T20 was one of the most challenging spells of fast bowling but nonetheless expressed delight that his side had the last laugh as he guided India to a five-wicket victory.
“Hands down these were amongst the most testing bowling spells. Everyone bowled brilliantly but Mohammad Amir was the pick of the bowlers, but the whole bowling attack created a lot of pressure on our batsmen,” said Kohli who scored a 51-ball 49, a brilliant knock under the circumstances, to take India to victory over their arch-rivals.
“It was just about staying in there and showing character, backing yourself and still having a positive intent if you want to defend the ball or leave the ball,” he said, explaining how he had weathered the storm created by a dream spell of Muhammad Aamir.
Spot-fixing tainted Aamir had a dream spell when India began their chase of a small total of 84. He had sent back the Indian openers in his very first over with the scoreboard reading just two, before having his third wicket in the form of Suresh Raina in his second over and Pakistan’s third.
Kohli explained how he had to go into a shell under such testing circumstances created by the brilliance of Aamir.
“As a batsman, you have to create a strange balance. You have to keep a positive mindset but at the same time you can’t afford to play a loose shot which you would rather go for in a different situation in a T20 game,” he said.
With the run-rate virtually irrelevant under those circumstances, Kohli said he went into a very ‘non-T20’ zone, rather thinking that he was playing an ODI match.
“The mental switch was to immediately go to an ODI zone rather than a T20 zone because we did not have to worry about the run-rate. It was just about keeping the scoreboard ticking and not giving away wickets. But my intent was always positive. If I had some deliveries that were loose, I went after them playing correct cricketing shots which was very important on this pitch,” he was quoted as saying by ‘bcci.Tv’.
Kohli said he was delighted to have come out unscathed in such a tricky strip and under a lethal pace bowling attack.
“Definitely it was a very challenging knock. I think chasing a low total is always tricky when you are three down for eight runs with the ball swinging around with pace. It is never easy to go and dig in and create an innings from there.
“That is where you need to sort of understand what needs to be done on a pitch which is doing a bit. As a batsman you feel a lot better when you come out of spells like that rather than a game that is batsman friendly. I am personally very happy that I could face may be 12 to 13 overs of bowling like that. To come out well from that is a very good feeling,” said the India Test captain.
“It is a learning for me personally to play on these kind of pitches and learn how to build an innings. You cannot learn anywhere better than out in the middle when you are in that situation and dealing with it. There is no better lesson than that.”
Kohli was one of the non-Pakistani cricketers to have expressed happiness at seeing the return of spot-fixing tainted Aamir and he was wholesome in his praise of the fast bowler for his stupendous show against his side yesterday.
“Hats off to the way the Pakistan bowlers bowled — especially Mohammad Amir. It was a pleasure playing that spell; that tested me out completely. To come out of that, it gives me a lot of confidence as a batsman. I am just delighted that I could contribute to the team’s success and winning high pressure games is always nice,” said Kohli.