Asia Cup 2022: Kohli thanks Rohit for making him me feel relaxed

He also said that some handy advice from head coach Rahul Dravid also helped

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India's Virat Kohli (left) and skipper Rohit Sharma. — BCCI
India's Virat Kohli (left) and skipper Rohit Sharma. — BCCI


Published: Fri 9 Sep 2022, 9:00 PM

Virat Kohli is all praise for skipper Rohit Sharma for the kind of “communication” he has had with him which has helped him stay relaxed and return to his “original template.”

Kohli finally got his 71st international hundred in the inconsequential final Super 4 Asia Cup game against Afghanistan and the BCCI.TV had the current and former captain engaged in some serious chat and occasional banter after the game.

The former Indian captain shrugged off his extended dry run with the bat to score two successive half-centuries and then an unbeaten 122 off 61 balls to lead the tournament batting chart so far with 276 runs in five matches.

"This tournament was important for us," Kohli said in an interview with skipper Rohit Sharma on India's cricket board website.

“We will learn from these Super 4 games (Pakistan and Sri Lanka) as to where we have gone wrong. There was clear communication from the management. The space that you gave me made me feel relaxed. So when I came back (after break), I was excited about what I could contribute to team,” Kohli told his “interviewer” Rohit.

Getting back to his ‘Old Template’

There are many ways to skin a cat and Kohli told his skipper that he realised that he should stick to his tried and tested “template” where six hitting isn’t always a priority.

“I banked on good cricketing shots and six hitting is not a big strength of mine. I can (hit sixes) if situation demands but I am better at finding gaps and as long as I can hit many boundaries, it will still serve the purpose,” Kohli said.

In fact, he had told Dravid and batting coach Vikram Rathour about his process.

“I told coaches that I will find the gaps rather than trying to hit big. It is not always that in T20 cricket, to get the strike-rate up, you need to only hit sixes. I got that out of my system and I am back with my template,” the master batter said.

“My role in the team is to take responsibility as per situation and also take the scoring rate higher. If I can take 10-15 balls to settle down, then I can accelerate. I was going away from my template and desperately trying to do things which are not in my game,” he admitted.

But in terms of his technique and mindset, Kohli told Rohit that he hasn’t done anything out of the ordinary.

“You know me well. We have played together for such a long time. If we are in good head space and continue being there, we will perform. The dressing room is a sacred place for both of us and now it’s about carrying the good habits into the upcoming series.”

Dravid’s tips also helped

The Asia Cup for Kohli was all about adding dimensions to his batting, including his approach between overs 7-15, and he got some handy advice from head coach Rahul Dravid.

“Rahul bhai has spoken to me while batting in middle overs, how can I improve my strike-rate when we bat first. The goal was the things I need to improve in order to help the team, I should try it out in Asia Cup,” he said.

Both seniors “bat” for KL Rahul at top

While Kohli’s hundred at the top has started the debate about whether he should open with Rohit, the two seniors agreed in unison that KL Rahul is indispensable at the top, and needs to be protected.

“We shouldn’t ignore KL’s knock as it is important to be in a good head space heading into the World Cup. We all know what he can do. He plays clean, solid shots and once he plays well our team looks more strong,” Kohli said.

Called "King Kohli" for his prolific scoring, the star batsman has also hit 27 Test and 43 ODI centuries in a stellar international career which began in 2008 with an ODI in Sri Lanka.

India will host Australia and South Africa for white-ball matches before they go Down Under in their attempt to end an ICC title drought.

India won the previous Asia Cup, in a 50-over format, in 2018 but their last ICC trophy came with the 2013 Champions Trophy, but Kohli remains confident of a good show in the coming months.

"I see the next couple of months as a great phase where we play quality teams, we go to Australia, we have preparation time and I have no doubt we will be absolutely ready come the first game of the World Cup," he said.

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