“A lot of things that happen on the outside are not ideal and not always how one expects them to be,” he claimed while referring to the fiasco around when he was removed as the ODI captain. Between all the punches he threw at BCCI during a high-voltage press conference on Wednesday, he could gather himself and talk about a tough tour of South Africa his Test team would embark on.
But he would ensure there was no room for aspersions cast on his presence in a white-ball setup where he is no longer the leader.
“I can assure any of action of mine will not be intended to harm the team. That’s my commitment towards Indian cricket. I am tired of clarifying doubts on my relationship with Rohit (Sharma),” Kohli asserted.
“My responsibility is always to push the team in the right direction. Something I always looked to do even before I became captain. Rohit is a very able captain and tactically sound. We have seen that in the games he has captained India and in the IPL. Along with Rahul (Dravid) bhai, who is a very balanced coach and a great man manager, they will have my absolute support in whatever vision they have for the team,” he announced to allay any fear of an unharmonious dressing room going forward.
Kohli would fire high-octane lines one after the other. His defiance in the face of a crisis of sorts shone through.
“Nothing can derail me from being motivated to play for India, to be prepared for a tour like this and to perform to the best of my abilities. We have to keep things in the right perspective. I am very focused, mentally prepared and excited to go to South Africa and help the team win,” he declared.
While he relinquished the T20 captaincy, he had claimed that the decision was taken in mind to unburden himself. That implied the flickering with the bat was getting to him. On Wednesday though, he was back to his defiant best. “I don’t think I can say if leaving captaincy will have a positive impact on my batting. I have taken a lot of pride in performing as captain. I have done the best I could,” he stated.
“With regards to captaincy, I have been honest to my responsibility and done it to the best of my potential. As far as batting is concerned, when you know you have been doing well at the international level, you know how to perform. Those things can never go away from you,” Kohli said with his typical unapologetically confidence.
For all the flak he has received in the past few months, the Test series in South Africa could be a shot at redemption as a captain. He will conjure every bit of confidence to inject into his team to ensure an Indian cricket team eventually conquers a turf that it has failed to even once.
“We are very well placed in terms of experience, belief and confidence that this time around we can do something special and get the results that we want as a team and overcome probably the toughest conditions to go and win a series,” Kohli.
“South Africa is one place where we have not won a series yet. So, we are very motivated to do that. And the mindset is always to go there and win a series in any country that we play. South Africa was the start for us as a team where we believed we could travel well. You need to be at your absolute best. Try to get difficult runs. We left too much to do sometimes in sessions. We have done that well,” he added.
Amidst all the drama in Indian cricket, there’s a series to be played. Kohli knows there’s no room for any letup here.