Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
India captain Virat Kohli has insisted that he is not looking for praise or recognition following his record-breaking performance in the ODI series against South Africa.
Kohli spearheaded India’s 5-1 victory as he scored a jaw-dropping 558 runs, which included three centuries and a fifty, at an average of 186.
With his game-winning 129 not out in the sixth ODI in Centurion on Friday, the 29-year-old became the first Indian batsman to score three centuries in a bilateral ODI series.
He was also the first player score 500 runs or more in a bilateral ODI series. The previous record belonged to his teammate Rohit Sharma, who accumulated 491 runs in the seven-match series against Australia in 2013.
Having scored a total of 558 runs, the Delhi native also broke the record for the most runs made in a bilateral ODI series against the Proteas in South Africa. Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen was the previous record holder as he amassed 454 runs in a seven-match series back in 2005.
While records tumbled, Kohli reiterated that leading India to victory remains his top priority.
“I am not competing with anyone at all. If anything, I only look to help my team in any way I can. And during the course of that, I have mentioned that if you are thinking about the team, special things happen.
“Look as I said, I’m not going to give in to this. I know for a fact that 90 percent of the people didn’t give us a chance after two Tests. I was sitting in the same room giving a press conference. So we understand where we’ve come from. I’m not going to live in a dream land right now and accept all the praise and sit here and feel good about this, because it doesn’t matter to me. Honestly it doesn’t.
“As I said I don’t want any tags, I don’t want any headlines, I just go out there and do my job, it is up to the people to write what they write, I don’t want to be called anything, it’s my job, I am supposed to do what I am doing and I am not doing anyone a favour as I said, so just want to be in this zone of working as hard as I can and trying to do the best for the team.
“Everyone is doing a job, they have the freedom to write and say what they want but it’s very important that I don’t change with that because my zone is very simple, it is simply doing hard work and performing for the team.”
Kohli added that he didn’t get much time to prepare for the tour as he got married shortly before. However, when the series began, India initially found it difficult to acclimate themselves to the conditions.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
This resulted in them losing the Test series. However, despite falling in the first two Tests, they rebounded and claimed a consolation win in the third Test in Johannesburg.
Their victory at the Wanderers sparked an incredible turnaround as they proceeded to secure their first-ever bilateral ODI series win in South Africa.
“I obviously didn’t have much time to prepare because I was doing something very important, I was getting married,” Kohli said. “So three weeks I was totally away from the game, but at the back of my mind there was always this motivation that I just want to be in South Africa. It’s embracing being in a difficult situation and that’s all we speak about in the change room as well.
“When things are hostile and when thing are not going your way, you want to go out there in the middle rather than getting extra sleep in the room. It is a very small change of thought but that makes a massive difference because when you go out there, you either want to take up the challenge or you don’t and that can only come from here.
“The power of the mind is much greater than practicing hours in the nets. You might practice for two months but if you are not game ready before the game you are going to look like a fool.
“I rather focus here a lot because I understand that we play so much cricket that you don’t necessarily need to go into the nets for hours and hours every day but you would rather tune your head and things can happen on the field which even you don’t expect because you just want to be in the battle and deliver for your team.
“Come what may, in any situation, you just want to be out there and help the team win games. That’s always been my mindset and that’s actually even my strength as well.”