India doing well because players completely trust each other: Virat Kohli

first_imgVirat Kohli is geared up and ready for the 2019 Cricket World Cup which starts in a few weeks in England. As India captain and the best batsman in the team, there will be plenty of expectations from all of India. However, Kohli said he thought the expectations were fair but his focus was on helping the team win.In an exclusive interview with India Today, Virat Kohli also spoke about the camaraderie in the Indian team and how the players bonded well in the dressing-room. Kohli, who has 41 ODI hundreds and is the best batsman in the world today, said every member of the Indian team was eager to return to the set-up and he was proud to lead a group of guys who are willing to play passionately for the country.Excerpts from an exclusive interview:Will the 2019 World Cup be the most important tournament you have ever played? You are captain, best batsman and the flag-bearer of our dreams.Virat Kohli: If you look at everything together, yes this (the 2019 World Cup) is going to be probably the tournament where I am more or less going to be involved in a lot of things. In 2011, yes I was there as a player but I wasn’t involved in the meetings and the pressures that come with taking the team forward and how to go about it. I was just happy doing my practice and contributing to the team. At this point of time, it’s going to be very different.advertisementEven in 2015, I wasn’t involved to the extent where I had to be a part of everything going on. So yes, to understand the magnitude of a tournament like this from a captain’s point of view along with the team management, it’s a different ball-game. And it’s something I am really looking forward to because when you play so much international cricket, after a while you need a bigger challenge and I think there’s no bigger challenge than the Word Cup and to come at this time where we have played so much cricket over the past few years, and to find a tournament like this where every team is just up and running again.. they are so excited for it.. I think it’s amazing for world cricket.You are going into the World Cup as the undisputed best batsman in the world. There is so much this country wants from you. How are you looking at it as a batsman’s point of view?Virat Kohli: Well obviously, I am going to look to contribute as much as possible. That’s always been my mindset. I would not say I would look to do something different just because it’s a World Cup. Fortunately, I am in the mindset that I have 12 months of the year. So I don’t have to pick myself up specially for a series or a tournament.Even if we play at home after a series in Australia, I would still have the same kind of intensity and same kind of drive to make sure the team goes across the line. I don’t necessarily focus on things that are expected of me. I think internally to help the team win, to contribute to the team.. those are the kind of pressures I like to deal with. On the outside, there are so many things that are not controllable.. These are opinions, these are expectations which is absolutely fair because if you watch a game and you want me to do well, you will obviously have expectations and you would want me to perform which is absolutely fine. Every individual has his own expectations, requirements and choices to make. So the main focus is going to be stay in that mindset regardless of how the team is playing. If we are playing really well (it’s important) not to get too excited about it. If we are we are sort of 50-50, it’s important not to get bogged down by it.Do you think the Indian team has all bases covered for the World Cup?Virat Kohli: We are all very happy (going into the 2019 World Cup). The kind of cricket we have played over the last couple of years, specially looking at the way we played away from home, is a great sign of things fallen in place for us at the right time. We are all very happy with the team. It’s the most balanced side we could have thought of. Everyone who we wanted to be in a good headspace came into a good headspace. They are all doing well, they are all playing well. I think those are the kind of things that are really crucial for a team to play well together. Even though you might be playing a tournament like the IPL right now, the anticipation and the excitement is for that big Cup. And everyone is using all the games that they have to get that mindset established. And that’s why you have people playing with a lot of passion in the IPL, playing with a lot of hunger and I love seeing the energy I am seeing in the IPL. That excites me. We are very happy with the 15 players we have (for the World Cup) and everyone is in very good headspace as well.advertisementYour players swear by you and that I think is the standout feature of this team.Virat Kohli: I would not put it down to myself. I think the whole management group and the way they handle players and the environment they have created in the change-room . It’s more like a bunch of friends together. Even from the management to myself.. I could be captain but the way we all talk in the change room and they way these youngsters joke around with me or even Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni).. it’s like being at home. Our change-room is like a living-room.We literally chill out, we relax, we talk so much non-sense at times but it’s so funny. That’s the kind of atmosphere you need and that’s exactly the point I made – that everyone is looking forward to coming back to that set-up. Everyone might be playing for their respective (IPL) teams right now but you wouldn’t see any chit-chat between the players who are playing for the nation. It’s all friendly and they are all smiling with each other.You feel so good seeing those things because we always wanted that to be the case. The Indian cricket team has to be paramount and people have to look forward to coming back to that set-up. That’s the thing that is happening right now. It’s not just me or only the management. It’s the players also who have taken it in such a nice and positive way and such a sporting way.It takes an effort from everyone in the change-room right from the management to the support staff to myself as a captain to Mahi bhai. Him being a senior and the way he deals with junior players.. these things make a massive, massive difference.That’s why there’s so much warmth and so much trust in the team and that’s why you see us playing the way we are because there’s complete trust. We set one goal and then it’s auto-mode. Everyone syncs with that goal. There is no personal interest, there is no playing for my performance.. there’s nothing of that sort. People are so happy bowling 4 good overs for the team even if their names are not flashed in the new the next day. These are the things that make me so proud to be part of this group.advertisementAlso Read | No bigger challenge in cricket than the World Cup: Virat Kohli to India TodayAlso Read | Expectations from me fair but my focus is to help India win: Virat KohliWatch full interviewlast_img read more