Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli has praised Joe Root, Kane Williamson, and Steve Smith, saying he rates all of them higher than him in Test cricket. Kohli has also expressed his desire to make India an all-time best team and described the ongoing fantastic run as a phase in a larger run.
Kohli has scored three double-centuries in 2016 and has 640 runs in the ongoing India-England series so far. A legend in the one-day format, Virat shattered a lot of records in the 2016 IPL as well. But in a comparison with Joe Root, Kane Williamson, and Steve Smith, he humbly rated all of them higher than him.
With overwhelming positivity, Kohli said, "They [the fans] put us in a group of young players coming up in world cricket.
"That healthy competition is great for the game. People like talking about it. It is a great topic of debate. I see people enjoy talking about it a lot and they mention it to me as well. "You four-five players are exciting to watch" and those sort of things. You feel good you are in a bunch of batsmen that is taking world cricket forward, not just having that healthy rivalry between us.
"As an individual, I don't focus on those things. It is a massive distraction. When you are going through a good phase, you want to see the rankings, you want to see what people are talking about, 'am I in the race,' and stuff like that. But you get so addicted to it that when you are not doing well, and saying things backfires and it can really put you down. To me, all these are world-class players, and I have always rated each one of them higher than me, in Test cricket especially, because of the way they have performed in the last two or three years.
"I understood my limitations and never tried to outdo them in the longest format of the game. In shorter formats, yes, I have been doing very well. I understood what I needed to do in the longest format for me to be able to contribute the maximum for my team. That's been my aim. My aim was never to go about Joe or Steve or Kane. I respect them equally and I think there is an equal amount of respect between all of us, David included. All of us understand and like our games."
Since a shocking loss at the hands of Sri Lanka in the first Test of the series in 2015, the Indian team haven’t lost a match in the longest format of the game. In the process, the Virat Kohli-led side have defeated Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand and England. But, for the skipper, all these successes are just a part of a longer run. For him, this is just the start of an era, which will see more Indian victories outside the familiar conditions of the subcontinent.
Ahead of the fifth and final match between India and England in Chennai, Kohli, in the pre-match press conference said, "We still understand we have to play a lot of cricket everywhere in the world. It's not only about this one period we are going through. It looks really good because we have come out of transition and immediately started winning games. But I wouldn't take it as overconfidence. It's an ongoing process, which needs to be sustained for the next five to seven or eight years for us to become a top-quality side and leave a mark on world cricket; maybe be known as one of the best teams to have assembled on the field.
"We want to do it across formats and make that mark for Indian cricket on the world stage. But it requires a lot of persistence and skill, a lot of hard work on your fitness, and those are the key factors that will decide where we go as a unit and as a team. We don't feel invincible, to be honest. We respect every opposition, we admit it every time we are put under pressure, and we know teams are going to put us under pressure. We appreciate that, we accept that and we try to find a way out of it. I think that's been key for us, and it's a process that should go on for another seven or eight years."
In the last 5 IND vs SA ODIs, SA was bowled out twice, while IND was bowled out only once.
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