Captain Virat Kohli displays icy nerves despite upheaval in Indian dressing room | india-vs-sri-lanka-2017 | Hindustan Times
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Captain Virat Kohli displays icy nerves despite upheaval in Indian dressing room

Virat Kohli is gifted by that trait where he can successfully shut out all external factors and focus on the job at hand – it was in display in India’s opening Test against Sri Lanka during his unbeaten 103 in the second innings.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Jul 30, 2017 17:36 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Virat Kohli’s choice Ravi Shastri is the new Indian cricket team captain after Anil Kumble resigned.
Virat Kohli’s choice Ravi Shastri is the new Indian cricket team captain after Anil Kumble resigned. (AFP)

Publicly, Virat Kohli has always maintained he has not been affected at all by the controversy surrounding the change in coach of the Indian cricket team. But, when you occupy the hottest seat in the country, that of the Indian cricket captain, you are better off without any additional pressure.

Kohli is gifted by that trait where he can successfully shut out all external factors and focus on the job at hand – it was in display in the opening Test against Sri Lanka during his unbeaten 103 in the second innings. However, given how big a call he took in touching one of the greatest Indian cricketers, Anil Kumble, he will know if he doesn’t get the results the resultant backlash will weigh him down like nothing else has before.

READ | Anil Kumble vs Virat Kohli: Bit of clash of personalities, says Jason Gilliespie

Having Ravi Shastri by his side, the Board of Control of India have provided him everything he wished for, but on the other hand it leaves him with little margin for error. It is in this context that getting runs and leading India to a win would be important for Virat Kohli’s confidence.

‘No nerves’

At the end of the game, the India captain though maintained there was no external pressure that the win helped ease his nerves.

“I think it’s another Test match for us. The nerves being built up or the panic being created was all on the outside. Inside the change room, the atmosphere is absolutely same. We’ve just done what we’ve done in the past two years on a consistent basis. And we’ve just gone out there and focused on the game and that’s all you think of doing and that’s all that we’re going to do in the future,” said Kohli after scripting India’s 304-run win in the first Test of the series at the Galle International Stadium.

READ | Virat Kohli says Galle Test win vs Sri Lanka an example of Indian bowlers’ skills

What made it special for him was getting back into the runs. He had a forgettable Test series against Australia, not being among the runs (his highest being 15 in five innings) and then missing the final Test due to injury. His second innings under Ravi Shastri also started tamely when he fell for just three runs in the first innings against Sri Lanka. He though more than made amends with a typically, flowing knock to notch up his 17th Test hundred and 10th as captain.

“I wasn’t looking at things from that point of view (not being among the runs). I think people on the outside start counting the number of innings when a batsman doesn’t score well but for us as batsman or anyone playing in the 11, it’s all about what the team wants at that particular situation. And you end up scoring runs as well plus you end up helping team also. I think the second innings required us to play more positively, and I am glad I was able to do that along with Abhinav (Mukund) to get us enough time to get the opposition out and enough runs on the board for us to feel comfortable,” said Kohli.

READ | Virat Kohli’s India shatter records in thumping win over Sri Lanka in Galle Test

“I wasn’t certainly looking at things like how many innings I haven’t scored because when you are playing all formats, you don’t think which format you have not scored runs in how many innings. You can’t utilise so much energy in that. But it’s feels always good to get runs when the team wins.”

With his performance, Kohli has displayed his mettle indeed. Blessed with ice-cold nerves, he doesn’t need much reassurance, but the innings will help keep his critics at bay.