After playing the winning knock in India’s 6-wicket win over Australia on Sunday night, Kohli lauded Dhoni’s role in his performance. The ace batsman credited the skipper for keeping him calm and composed despite the creeping run rate as the duo won the match for India with five balls to spare.
“Credit to MS Dhoni. He kept me calm and kept telling me - ‘Pick your areas, these many runs are left in these many balls’. He didn’t want me to get carried away or over excited. He just kept telling me what are the areas I could pick and that just gave me assurance,” Kohli told bcci.tv.
“If I was going to go towards covers, he would give me assurance again and I became confident. I think that is where communication and partnership helps. It was wonderful to pull the team out of that situation,” beamed the Delhi boy.
After guiding India to countless wins while chasing, Kohli was naturally quizzed on where this one ranks. “I don’t know where I would put this chase. It is up to the people to decide that. I enjoy playing every innings for my country. Hopefully, they think this is one of the better chases the Indian team has pulled off. Not just me, it is an effort by everyone. I scored 82; I didn’t score all the runs in the game. Others have contributed as well, so credit goes to them also.”
With the running between the wickets being a key to the Indian chase, Kohli noticed how it had a psychological impact on the fielding side. “I think what really helped was him running those twos. The opposition panicked a bit because of that. They were unsettled because they knew we could run the runs as well and get 12 off one over without taking a risk. I think that is when the bowlers started thinking too much.”
With the dressing room erupting in celebrations, Kohli sunk to his knees. “It was a pretty emotional feeling when I saw Dhoni hitting the winning runs. I don’t really know what to say,” said an emotional Kohli, speaking to BCCI.TV.
With the required run rate climbing all the time, Kohli did fear the worst at one point.“It virtually felt like you are out of the tournament at the end of 10 overs. To pull the game back after that along with MS Dhoni - I don’t know how we did it. Even out there in the middle, I didn’t know how this was happening. I am just grateful that I was able to do it for the team. That is the reason you play the sport. That is the feeling that you crave as a sports person. It is such a wonderful moment for your team. To see your teammates celebrate and get happy is a wonderful feeling,” added Kohli. As Twitter went crazy after Virat’s 82, the teammates did not stay behind in heaping praise on the 27-year old.
Harbhajan Singh gloated saying he was one of the best he has seen. “He is tremendous. I have seen lots of the greats playing brilliant innings from time to time, but this is Virat Kohli’s time and he is the number one batsman in the world. There is no doubt about it,” added Bhajji. “The way he looks after himself, the way he prepares is just outstanding. He is a champion player.”
“The dressing room was never in doubt as long as Kohli was out there. Even if it was 70 odd runs in six overs we were always in the game. Till the time Kohli was there, we knew that we are in and we would finish the game,” said Harbhajan with a smile. “He is taking the responsibility and has been doing it for many years now. He is taking the team through consistently.”
Ashish Nehra, Kohli’s senior teammate chipped in as well. “The last three to four years he has taken his game to a different level,” said Nehra. “He trains hard, keeps a check on what he does and what he eats. He is always hungry and wants to perform in every game. There is so much belief in him. He gets into the field with a feeling that I am the only one who is going to do it, and he has been doing it consistently,” he concluded.