I don’t think South Africa’s pace attack were that ‘threatening at all’, says Virat Kohli

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

“Funny because even during the ODIs versus Australia, I was thinking about getting a Test hundred in South Africa”

Just a day after scoring a century in his first Test innings in South Africa, India vice-captain Virat Kohli has announced that he doesn’t believe the Proteas’ pace attack were that “threatening at all”.

South Africa pace spearhead Dale Steyn recently stated that the Indians were scared of the pace and bounce the South African pace attack got at the Wanderers, but Kohli believes he disproved Steyn’s theory with his magnificent century.

“Apparently I was pretty soft after the first ODI,” Kohli said. “I always had it in mind that we were all going to get short stuff unless you attack them. So rather get out playing your shots than fishing outside the off stump. I was prepared and I was watching the ball closely. Later on they started bowling at the fifth-sixth [stump], so I don’t know where that bodyline bowling went. It is all about dictating terms when you bat. You can’t always play under pressure. Let them know you are here to compete. We have shown we have learnt from mistakes, we have practised hard. We stuck to plans, and you will see us improving as we play next.”

Kohli was also pleased to have taken full advantage of coming in at the number four spot, which used to belong to the legendary Sachin Tendulkar until he retired last month.

“I have been waiting for this opportunity to bat up the order,” Kohli said. “It’s something that I badly wanted to do in Test cricket because I am so used to going in at No. 3 in ODIs. I like to be in the action early on and get in while conditions are tough and then dictate terms. I had a plan in mind that I wanted to stick to, and wasn’t thinking about bowling, conditions, or the wicket. I just wanted to execute my plan.”

Kohli once again reiterated that South Africa’s pace bowlers did not really pose a threat throughout the first day of the first Test in Johannesburg.

“I don’t think they were threatening at all,” Kohli said. “They are quality bowlers, but it was about respecting the conditions early on when you went in and the kind of bowling you were facing after that. You have got to get in and back yourself throughout. If they are good enough to play at this level, so are you. I had that belief, but had to respect the good balls that are being thrown at you. At the same time, you have got to be aware of cashing in on opportunities that are presented. That was key to my knock today, I latched on to whatever chances came my way, putting them away for boundaries.”

Kohli can now tick one of the boxes on his to-do list as he accomplished his goal of scoring a Test century against South Africa in their own backyard.

“Funny because even during the ODIs versus Australia, I was thinking about getting a Test hundred in South Africa,” he said. “That was all that was on my mind. I wasn’t even focussing on those ODIs or any other games we played against West Indies. Every training session we had I was motivating myself to do something like this. Because I know how special it has been for players to get a hundred in South Africa, it was very pleasing to do so. It is probably the best I have batted in Test cricket till now. It is just about building on to it and it feels nice when you plan something and it comes together, especially against a world-class bowling attack.”

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