Virat Kohli acknowledged that he is aware of the expectations of cricket fans whenever he goes batting but does not care about reaching personal milestones of material achievement. The former captain’s comments came after he was sacked for 45 in the first innings of his 100th Test, which is also the series opener between India and Sri Lanka in Mohali on Friday.
The cricket world waited in hope for Virat Kohli to break 3 figures and celebrate the milestone of becoming only the 12th Indian cricketer to complete 100 Tests in style at Mohali. Kohli got off to a great start, pushing limits in his signature style, but folded for 45 and was castled by left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya.
Kohli could hardly believe his luck when he was completely hit by a delivery that turned square and hit the top of the off stump after throwing on center and leg. It was a disappointing end to a day that began with head coach Rahul Dravid presenting Virat Kohli with a special hat as the team congratulated the star batter on completing 100 tests.
However, Kohli sewed up an important stand with Hanuma VIhari hitting a 58 after batting at No. 3 for the first time in his career. The duo added 90 runs for the 2nd wicket after India lost their opening games to Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal relatively early in the first session.
India vs Sri Lanka, Day 1 Test 1: Report | highlights
Speaking to the press after Day 1 of his 100th Test, Kohli said he’s prepared the same way throughout his career and is pleased with the contributions he’s making to the team.
I THINK DIFFERENTLY: KOHLI
“I’m preparing the same way I’ve been preparing all this time. As long as I hit well, it doesn’t bother me at all. People look at milestones and talk about a lot of things that are just an outward conversation, I know for that I’ve been involved in very important partnerships for the team in the recent past,” Kohli said on Friday.
“Everyone has a different perspective, my perspective is very different at the moment. If people don’t see me producing those big results game after game, it’s probably because of their own expectations of me and the standards that haven’t been producing consistently and so the expectations are there.
“Even today, that partnership of 90 was important to us after losing 2 for 80 or more.
“As long as you focus on the right things, I don’t worry too much about milestones. I never cared. Those conversations are always on the outside and they will continue to be because we’re kind of crazy about milestones and materialistic achievements, I sure don’t like that.
“I’m hitting well and that’s the most important thing for me.”
Kohli has not reached a hundred in international cricket since November 2019, even if he is expected to end the drought every time he bats at India. Kohli has completed 805 runs since early 2020 when he was in 6 fifties, but his average has dropped to a 28.75, well below his overalls, which are still over 50.
Meanwhile, India were in trouble as they lost Virat Kohli and Hanuma Vihari in quick succession. However, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer stabilized the team before the latter exited for 27 after a quick start.
Nonetheless, Pant brought his big-hitting game to the surface after hitting 73-ball fifty. He came with an attack on Sri Lankan spinners Lasith Embuldeniya and Dhananjay de Silva, smashing 9 boundaries and 4 sixes for his 97-ball 96.
Pant returned to the pavilion heartbroken but his 96 batter saw India finish Day 1 357/6 in 85 overs.