Asia Cup 2022 | Batted out of my skin to be honest, I surprise myself, confesses Virat Kohli

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Virat Kohli scored an international century after a long wait of 1021 days with an epic 122 off 61 deliveries against Afghanistan

(ICC)

Asia Cup 2022 | Batted out of my skin to be honest, I surprise myself, confesses Virat Kohli

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SportsCafe Desk

09/09/2022

Virat Kohli spoke candidly about the difficult times he has been through and expressed gratitude to all that stood by him after scoring a remarkable ton against Afghanistan. He admitted his surprise at how half-centuries weren't good enough anymore while dismissing the need for advice on his game.

Virat Kohli took over the cricketing world in vintage fashion on Thursday following a breathtaking century against Afghanistan in India's final Asia Cup encounter at the Dubai International Stadium. The Indian talisman scored his first international century since November 2019 to move level with Ricky Ponting on 71 tons, only behind Sachin Tendulkar now. Incidentally, it was also his first T20I hundred, adding another feather to his brimming cap.

The 33-year-old expressed unbridled joy on the crease upon reaching the mark, celebrating by kissing the ring tied around his neck with the initials of his wife Anushka Sharma.

"Firstly I am grateful for how the day went today. Time away from the game gave me a good chance to sit back and observe a lot of things about me. I mentioned one special person - Anushka - who stood by me through these tough times and I mentioned her as she has seen the absolute raw side of me throughout all these months. She was the one putting things in perspective for me, kept giving me the right kind of guidance, right kind of vision moving forward and I came back into the system a very relaxed person," the man-of-the-match said in the post-match presentation as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo.

The 33-year-old ended up with 274 runs in the event, averaging 91.33. His knock of 122 was laced with six maximums and 12 boundaries, coming at a strike rate of 200. In the 1021 days he went without a ton, Kohli managed 26 50-plus scores for India averaging nearly 40 across all formats. However, an extended break away from the game after a dismal tour of England earlier in the year finally helped him unlock the missing final few yards.

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"Today I think was just a build up of the last few games - I actually batted out of my skin to be honest, I surprised myself," he confessed.

"What actually surprised me was my 60s became failures, which was very shocking for me. I was batting pretty well and contributing, but it didn't seem to be good enough...I went back to the drawing board, came back fresh, came back excited. The team management have also had great communication with me through these times, they've kept my perspective right. When I came back there was not much information coming my way, they just said 'you bat and enjoy yourself'. So it was just a matter of getting back into the space of enjoyment," Kohli added.

When asked whether he had any regrets about his game at the Asia Cup, Kohli asserted he had never changed his technique significantly but his failures were borne out of shortcomings in his mental space.

"I have had many suggestions, lot of advice has come my way. People were telling me I was doing this wrong, that wrong, I picked out all the videos from the best times I had. It was the same initial movement, same approach towards the ball and it was just what was going on inside my head I wasn't able to explain it to anyone. At the end of the day you know as an individual where you stand, and what you have to do for your journey, and people will have their opinions. But they cannot feel what you're feeling. I have felt these last few months in a very different way, which is a very special time in my life. I'm very grateful for that time, my perspective had to change for me to move forward in cricket," the former skipper concluded.

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