Melbourne: Virat Kohli is not interested in fighting perceptions about his public persona, something that has been debated endlessly over the years across various platforms.
Asked about his take on how he has been perceived over the years, Kohli seemed nonchalant. “What I do or how I think, I am not going to take a banner outside to the world and explain that this is who I am and you need to like me or stuff like that. These are things that happen on the outside,” the skipper said on the eve of Boxing Day Test.
“I have no control over that. It’s an individual choice, what you want to focus on. My focus is on the Test match, winning the Test match and doing well for the team. That’s all it is,” the outspoken India captain added.
Kohli said that he is clueless about what people are writing about him but insisted that he respects their opinions.
“I honestly have no idea about any of the articles or anything that people say because that does not concern me. It’s not something I have written. Everyone is entitled to his or her point of view, and I have total respect for that. I just want to focus on good cricket, and try and make my team win.”
When asked about his casting as the “villain” of the series by certain sections of the Australian media and perhaps even by the fans, even though Indian coach Ravi Shastri called him an ‘absolute gentleman’, Kohli maintained he doesn’t need to explain his actions.
“He(Shastri) has spent enough time with me to know the kind of person I am. The people who know me, you can ask them. I won’t be answering this question myself.”
Kohli was involved in an on-field spat with his opposite number Tim Paine during the second Test, but the Indian skipper emphasised that he was only focussed on the cricketing aspect.
“That’s past. It’s Test cricket, at the highest level, when two tough teams are going against each other, there will be things that will happen on the field. I think it is important to leave it there and focus on the next Test.”
“We are not looking to find something to talk about. As long as the line is not crossed, you have no issues. I am sure Tim and myself both understand what happened and don’t want to do something unnecessary. We want to lead our teams well and play good cricket, which the public wants to see,” Kohli in his reply also sent a subtle message for the Australian captain.
Kohli, who scored a classy 123 in the second Test in Perth, has been head and shoulders above his teammates as far as quality of batsmanship is concerned.
His answer about batting in unfamiliar terrains explained why he is a notch above rest.
“As a batsman, if at any stage, you are hesitating or are scared of the pace and the bounce, then you are definitely going to get hit. It’s something that you sit in your room and work on, it’s not something that you can arrive and feel on that particular day.”
Kohli added for him, it’s about getting into a positive frame of mind more than anything and he works relentlessly to achieve it.
“For me, what has worked is being comfortable in where I am playing. Not necessarily looking at how difficult the wicket is, but if you are able to feel comfortable there, then you are more or less in control of what you want to do.
“It’s something that I work on and I think that’s probably the only and the most important thing to get into that frame of mind, where you feel like you are ready enough to get runs anywhere. That takes a constant effort on a daily basis. It’s just about getting into a positive frame of mind.”
For Kohli, the success depends on how much one can sort out the mental aspect of Test match batting.
“It’s hardly anything technical, I feel it is 80% mental and 20% technical when you go to any country away from your conditions to play.The teams that stay in a good zone for long enough, they end up doing special things,” he added.