India are ready to square off against Australia in the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground starting Wednesday. And all eyes are again on the two captains - Virat Kohli and Tim Paine - after their recent scrap during the Perth Test. Keeping that in view, when asked about what he thinks about his image out in the public, Virat Kohli insisted that he wants to focus on his game and what people think doesn't really matter to him.
"I am never going to take a banner outside in the world and explain myself and say 'ýou need to like me'. As I said in the press conference after the last game, it is an indivudual choice what you want to focus on. My focus is winning the Test match and doing well for the team. I honestly have no idea about any about the articles or what people say because that doesn't concern concern me. And everyone's entitled to their point of view and I have total respect for that and I just wanna focus on good cricket and make my team win," he said during the presser ahead of the Boxing Day Test.
Following the press conference, India announced their playing XI for the Melbourne Test, which included debutant Mayank Agarwal and the return of Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja.
Skipper Kohli, who had some testy exchanges in Perth with Australian counterpart Tim Paine, insisted the defeat there was in the past and his team was starting with a new slate in Melbourne. "As a team, whether you're 2-0 up or 1-0 down, what has happened in the past has no significance to what is going to happen in the next Test," he said before the team was announced.
"So the key is to stay in the moment, stay in the present. We just need to play consistently good cricket and not get too excited or taken aback from situations in the match."
Kohli, who scored a battling century in Perth but was criticised for failing to acknowledge the crowd when he was controversially given out, also said he would not be looking for confrontations with Paine in Melbourne.
"Both teams are passionate and desperate to win. Obviously, things happen on the field. But as long as the line isn't crossed," he said.
"I'm sure Tim and myself understand what happened and we don't want to do something unnecessary. We want to lead our teams well and play good cricket that the public wants to see."
(With AFP inputs)