Virat Kohli seeks to deflect focus on him ahead of Australia Test series | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Virat Kohli seeks to deflect focus on him ahead of Australia Test series

Virat Kohli looms as the biggest threat for Australia with the India skipper having scored a double century in each of the last four series.

cricket Updated: Feb 22, 2017 19:20 IST
India  captain Virat Kohli during their practice session ahead of the first Test against Australia in Pune, on Wednesday.
India captain Virat Kohli during their practice session ahead of the first Test against Australia in Pune, on Wednesday.(AP)

Skipper Virat Kohli endorsed coach Anil Kumble’s statement that India are not treating Australia any different from other opponents but are focused on their won strength going into the four-match series.

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“All the teams we had played were quality teams. Australia is no different. We are not treating this series different from any others,” Kohli said at a media interaction on Wednesday.

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“England was a very tough series. To start off with a draw, which wasn’t a convincing draw from our side, it was more of not letting the opposition win from there on. We don’t need to focus too much on the opposition. At the same time we respect them. Last game we respected Bangladesh equally. Every opposition has to be respected on equal terms.”

Warner, Maxwell praise

Kohli, who is known to not mince his words, said he wasn’t thinking too much about why the likes of David Warner and Glenn Maxwell have been praising him, a departure from the approach of previous visiting Australia sides. “See, I am really good friends with them. But I know where to draw the line of friendship as well. When you step on to the field, I could be playing against my brother (but) it doesn’t matter,” Kohli said.

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“So it’s fine, if they had criticised me, I would have been okay with it, it’s not something coming out of my mouth. So, I have no control over it. I don’t know the reason, there might not be any reason; I am not here to speculate.”

People judged too early

He took on critics who used to lambast him for his overt aggression and slam his attitude on and off the field. He thanked Kumble for channelling his aggression, but said he had been working on it as well.

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“A lot of people lacked patience with me initially. They wanted me to be a 35-year-old matured guy when I was 22, which doesn’t really happen,” he said. “I have gone through my gradual process. People writing articles or speaking about certain things, that’s their job, I have no control over it.

“They have to write or criticise or not criticise; that’s not in my control. I focus on my game and that’s the priority for me. Anil Bhai channelled it much better in terms of his experience. He was a very aggressive player in his head as well. But he knew when to use that aggression and how to channel it. So he has helped me in that aspect a little bit.”

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Kohli said he expected his side to come out on top given that they have been in a good run. Being at peace mentally was more important for the combinations to click. “If you’re not feeling good mentally, you could have any combination you are up against, or you could play with any combination, that won’t work. We are in good space as a team and are not bothered about the opposition combination.”