1st Test: To be honest, I had butterflies in my stomach: Virat Kohli

Mohali: Senior India batter Virat Kohli admitted that he had butterflies in his stomach before stepping on the field for his 100th Test match against Sri Lanka. In the opening Test of the two-match series at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium on Friday, Kohli became the 12th Indian and 71st cricketer overall to achieve the landmark.

“Rahul (Dravid) bhai had asked me in the morning how are you feeling? I said to him, I am feeling like I am making my debut all over again. To be honest, I had butterflies in my stomach. It was a special moment and I didn’t realise the magnitude of the occasion till the time things got closer to today and how the presentation ceremony happened. There were people in the stadium today as well; it was a moment which was very, very special. I did feel very nervous before walking out before,” said Kohli in the virtual press conference.

Talking about the difference in his approach walking out as a specialist batter and not as captain, Kohli remarked, “Walking as a specialist batter, I have said this before, my mindset was exactly the same even before becoming the captain. I always wanted to be a responsible player for the team and I always took responsibility even when I wasn’t captain so for me, nothing changed.”

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Kohli, in his 100th Test, oozed confidence in his drives and flicks while making 45 before being bamboozled by turn from Lasith Embuldeniya. He expressed disappointment in getting out after getting a good start.

“I was obviously disappointed. I got a good start and was batting really well. When you get a start and get out like that, you obviously feel disappointed as a batsman and I am no different. So, the endeavour is always to make sure you play a big innings for the team and put the team in a strong position.”

“That’s something I look to do every time when I play. It’s becoming more disappointing rather than a string of low scores, getting into that 30-40 mark. Something that I will have to be mindful of and try to build on the starts I got in the recent past and convert into big scores.”

Asked if he would make any changes to his approach or overall game, Kohli felt he needed to follow the processes which fetched him results in the past. “I am preparing exactly the way I have always prepared. As long as I am batting and playing well, I am not bothered at all. From a worldly point of view, people look at milestones and talk about a lot of things which are just a conversation on the outside. I know for a fact that I have been involved in very important partnerships for the team in the recent past.”

“Everyone’s point of view is very different; my point of view is very different at the moment. If people are not getting to see me getting those big scores game after game, it’s probably down to their own expectations of me and the standards of which have not been set randomly. I have been performing consistently and hence the expectations are there.”

“But even today, that partnership of 90 runs was an important one for us looking at the course of the game after we were two down for 80-odd. As long as your focus is on the right things, I am not too worried about milestones and these kinds of things.

“I have never been bothered about that. This is just the conversations that always happen on the outside and they will continue to do so because we somehow are crazy about milestones and materialistic achievements. I personally don’t think like that. I am batting well and that for me is the most important thing,” concluded Kohli.

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