Don't Play For Three-Figure Mark, Winning More Important: Virat Kohli

Updated: 16 September 2017 17:22 IST

India skipper Virat Kohli said that he doesn't play for the three-figure mark and for him winning is the most important thing.

Don't Play For Three-Figure Mark, Winning More Important: Virat Kohli
For Virat Kohli winning is the most important thing © NDTV

India skipper Virat Kohli, who has had a brilliant run with the bat in the shorter format of the game for the past couple of years said that he doesn't play for the three-figure mark and for him winning is the most important thing. India have won their last six one-dayers and swept the series against Sri Lanka 9-0 across all formats. Kohli reached a personal milestone in the ODI series against Sri Lanka by notching up his 30th ODI century, equalling the great Australian batsman Ricky Ponting and now only has Sachin Tendulkar ahead of him who has scored 49 ODI centuries. 

"I don't play for the three-figure mark. For me winning is most important. I can be 98 or 99 not out but if the team wins then I am happy," said Kohli in a press conference ahead of the first ODI against Australia on Sunday to be played at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai.

Shikhar Dhawan will miss the first three one-dayers of the series due to his wife's illness and in his absence, it is more than likely that Ajinkya Rahane will open the innings for India along with Rohit Sharma. Talking about the opening pair, the Indian skipper said, "We are backing Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order."

Rohit, earlier, in a press conference had hinted that Rahane will open the innings for the home team in place of Dhawan.

The last ODI series between the two sides, India and Australia, was a run-fest and the upcoming series could turn out to be no different.

"The skill level of batsmen has changed because of T20 cricket," said Kohli indicating that it might turn out to be a high-scoring series.

The spin department for the home side consists of Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Australia found it difficult to pick Kuldeep in the Test series earlier in the year and the visitors will be well wary of that fact. On the other hand, India can always use it to their advantage and with two wrist spinners in the side, Chahal and Kuldeep, the Aussies may find life difficult in spin-friendly conditions.

Talking about their spin bowling strength, the 28-year-old made it clear that having two wrist spinners in the team can be an added advantage.

"Great advantage to have two wrist spinners (Chahal and Kuldeep) in the team," Kohli said.

'KL Rahul has ability to win games for India'

KL Rahul might have had his share of struggles in the limited overs format of late but skipper Virat Kohli is confident that the talented Karnataka right-hander will come good at his new No 4 slot. Rahul had scores of 4, 17 and 7 in the three ODIs in Sri Lanka and was dropped from the fifth rubber. Asked about Rahul's form, Kohli said:"KL (Rahul) is an outstanding talent. He is proved himself in all formats. And he is someone who needs to be backed. Because we believe that he has the ability. Once he gets his role done, he will start winning us games. We are very sure of that." Kohli also feels that apart from Rahul, who is batting at an unfamiliar No 4 position, each and every player in the team needs to be flexible.

"I think, if you look to bat in the position that you bat in one format, in all the formats, then it can get very difficult for the team to find the right kind of balance including that player. So I think players need to adapt to what the team requirement is more often.

"For example, I have opened in the T20 cricket as well. So I should be flexible enough to do that. I think it's up to the player to get versatile in a manner that he can take up different positions what the team requires him to do," he said.

Kohli agreed that it takes time for anyone to settle in a particular batting slot.

"It takes time, I am not saying it is easy. If you see Jinks (Ajinkya Rahane) as well - he has played in the middle order in the ODIs, he plays in the middle order in  Test matches. He's also opened a lot in ODIs as well. He also felt that he found it difficult to switch. Now we're backing Jinks at the top of the order. So he knows the plans are clear," the skipper explained the rationale behind Rahul batting at No 4. The skipper said it was an advantage to have two wrist spinners (Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal) in the side and that their ability to pick up wickets gave him a lot of confidence.

"It is a great advantage to have two wrist spinners in your team, especially when both are so different to each other and both can pick up wickets in the middle overs.

"It is important to keep picking wickets and have breakthroughs throughout. Those two guys have provided that to us and they are very confident coming into this series. They are in a zone where they don't mind getting hit as long as they pick up three-four wickets which I think is a very good space to be in," he added.

Asked if there was a different outlook because Australia was a stronger opposition, he told reporters ahead of the first ODI against Australia at M A Chidambaram Stadium here tomorrow, "No, I don't think that we need to look at any series differently. As I mentioned in Sri Lanka as well, your preparation should matter more than who you are playing against. So obviously you'll assess strengths and weaknesses of all sides."

"As I have said before, you can't raise or decrease your intensity according to who you are playing against. That's not being fair to the sport and that's something that we as a team do not believe in. So, we like to prepare the same way and we like to play with the same kind of intensity regardless of who we are playing against.

The last Test series against Australia saw a lot of tensions on and off the field and Kohli stressed on why it is necessary to be competitive in each and every series.

Asked if it was more draining that resulted in players losing cool, he said,"I don't think so. You can say what you want, you can keep talking the whole time but if you don't deliver on the field it doesn't matter. All those things are to get that aspect of mind games which I think creates an excitement for the fans watching as well."

"I feel that intense competition should be there for the game to have that excitement and keep this game alive. I think it is very important to have that competitiveness in every series that you play," he added. 
 

Topics : India Australia Virat Kohli Steven Peter Devereux Smith MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai India vs Australia 2017-18 Cricket
Highlights
  • Virat Kohli is the captain of India cricket team
  • Virat Kohli doesn't play for personal milestones
  • The first ODI between India and Australia will be played on Sunday
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