Failures abroad like knife over head: Virat Kohli ahead of ICC Champions Trophy
Virat Kohli endured a horror tour to England in 2014 where he struggled against the moving ball, but the India skipper says the ICC Champions Trophy was not about him making amends.icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: May 24, 2017 20:30 IST
The last time Virat Kohli played in England, in the 2014 Test series, he failed to cope with the swinging conditions. James Anderson and Co gave him a torrid examination of playing against the moving ball, targetting him outside the off-stump.
In the five-Test series, he aggregated 134 runs in 10 innings, at an average of 13.4 with a highest score of 39. In the one-day series, he scored 54 runs in four innings at an average of 18 with a highest score of 40.
As he heads to the United Kingdom again, leading India’s title defence in the ICC Champions Trophy, it is expected that most opposition will look to target him with the same strategy.
Even though Virat Kohli tried to play it down in the press conference, he is approaching the tournament with all seriousness. For the last three days, he has been seen working on his game with batting coach Sanjay Bangar, against the white new ball, at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s Bandra Kurla Complex Academy facility.
Not life and death
When asked whether he is looking at the tournament as a chance for redemption, Kohli said no. “I feel you improve as a cricketer in every tournament you play. The atmosphere around us is built up like life and death, especially for cricketers from the subcontinent.
“We do well in India there is no hype around them. We don’t do well overseas it’s like a knife hanging over your head. The only motivation is to play well for your country. It does not matter where you play; the aim is to win matches. People might say it is a question of life and death or redemption, but it’s not the case for me. It’s just like any other tournament.”
The other challenge for Kohli as captain is to mentally recover from the disappointment of a poor Indian Premier League season with Royal Challengers Bangalore. Kohli said it was a great learning experience for him in understanding what he will need to balance his intensity and avoid a burnout.
Learning from setbacks
“After the kind of season we had, it teaches you about yourself as a person at a few levels. From a mindset point of view, it made me realise that you cannot do everything in every game. Sometimes people might start looking at you like that, sometimes as a human being you need to realise your limitations and take a few steps backwards.
“It was bizarre and maybe it was to teach me to balance things out and take a step back and think about how much you can do on the field and how much intensity with which you can play, maybe choose your phases. As I keep getting older, those things are (going to be) important and you need to avoid burnout too quickly,” said Kohli.
“It teaches you a lot as captain, it teaches you a lot, composure-wise. You take a lot away from failures which is what I have always cherished.”