Four years ago, Virat Kohli had come to Kolkata to play a few matches in the local league for Mohun Bagan when he was out of the India team.
He scored a blistering 184 off 121 balls in the final at Eden Gardens to help Mohun Bagan lift the P Sen Trophy and yet wasn’t very exuberant about his knock.
Instead he preferred sitting quietly at one corner checking out his blade even as his team rejoiced on the sidelines. Kohli is one of those players who is not impressed with himself easily.
So his exultation on Friday after getting his first ODI century in over a year reflected on how much Kohli values scoring for India.
For a batsman who has scored more centuries than Sachin Tendulkar had made in his first 100 ODIs, a year of wait had almost stifled Kohli.
That the century came in his second match as captain bodes well for both him and India not only here but also for the Zimbabwe tour for which Kohli has been selected captain.
“A hundred is always satisfying, especially after you have been getting a few starts and you have been hitting the ball well and not converting them into big scores.
“It gets a bit disheartening for a batsman when you are consistently hitting the ball well but not getting through to that big score,” said Kohli.
Kohli’s start on Friday was much more sedate. After coming in at the fall of Shikhar Dhawan’s wicket, he left the first two deliveries of Kemar Roach and then fended the last few on his backfoot.
“I sat and analysed what I was doing wrong the past few innings. I was probably being too aggressive upfront. It was not my gameplan. I just decided to go out there and give myself a chance, play myself in,” said Kohli.
He slowly picked up the momentum even though wickets kept falling regularly at the other end. West Indies bowlers though allowed Kohli a free hand by pitching the ball short and often wide.
“I was pretty surprised because getting out once to a hook shot (in the previous match at Sabina Park) they thought I can’t play the pull. I was loving it because
“I knew they would ball short to me and that’s my strength,” said Kohli, who will captain for the rest of the tour.
Captaining with bat
Kohli going back to the No.3, where Murali Vijay failed against Sri Lanka in the previous match, possibly tilted the match in India’s favour.
It also speaks a lot about Kohli’s will to lead from the front. “I spoke to the coach and told him I should bat at my original position so that I can control the situation.
“The pressure is eased off and the batsmen coming in later can play around me,” said Kohli. Friday it worked out exactly like he had thought.