Kohli proud of playing 100 Tests in IPL era

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India’s Virat Kohli and his wife Anshuka Sharma pose during the facilitation ceremony of Kohli for the 100th Test.

India’s star batsman Virat Kohli on Friday credited his level of fitness for achieving the landmark of 100 Tests in an age of relentless cricket that has included numerous Indian Premier League appearances.

The 33-year-old Kohli made 45 and put on a key 90-run stand with Hanuma Vihari after India elected to bat first in the opening Test against Sri Lanka in Mohali.

Kohli, who started off as a chubby boy from Delhi on his way to becoming a fitness icon with a chiselled physique, reflected on his Test journey that began in 2011 in West Indies.

“It’s been tough from the point of view that I have played three formats of the game plus IPL every year for the last 10 to 11 years consistently, and that obviously is a big challenge in itself,” Kohli told reporters.

“I am immensely proud of how I have handled my physique, my fitness levels to come this far. And obviously a lot of discipline, lot of lifestyle changes.”

He added: “Especially playing 100 Test matches, for me personally, has been a kind of a test that I have in my own environment passed.”

Kohli has played 207 Twenty20 matches for IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore, apart from his 357 limited-overs games for India. He also captained Bangalore between 2013 and 2021.

He surpassed 8,000 Test runs in his 76-ball stay before being bowled by spinner Lasith Embuldeniya and walking back to a standing ovation from the crowd.

Kohli is one of the best batsmen of the modern game across the three formats and was India’s most successful Test captain — with 40 wins and 17 losses in 68 Tests — until he quit the job last month.

But his inability to land India a world title, including last year’s inaugural World Test Championship, when they lost to New Zealand in the final, proved his undoing as a leader, and Rohit Sharma became captain across formats.

Kohli’s form with the bat hasn’t helped either, as the once-prolific scorer last recorded an international century in November 2019 in a Test against Bangladesh.

“I have been preparing exactly the way I have prepared, and as long as I am batting well, (I am) not bothered at all,” said Kohli.
“I know for a fact that I have been involved in big partnerships for the team. Everyone has different points of view and if people are not getting to see me get those big scores, it’s probably down to one’s own expectations.”

Kohli admitted he was “nervous” before coming in to bat in his landmark Test but said his mindset remained the same despite not being captain.

“Obviously (a) captain brings in a lot more responsibility, but even before (becoming captain), my mindset was exactly the same as it is today,” he said.

Before the match, Kohli, alongside actress wife Anushka Sharma, was presented with a special cap by coach Rahul Dravid as top officials from India’s cricket board including president Sourav Ganguly clapped from the balcony.

Agence France-Presse

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