In the high pressure role of India skipper sometimes a man needs to let off some steam something Virat Kohli has come to master almost as well as chasing a target in an ODI.
Kohli’s sparring with journalists, most often from his own country, is if nothing else highly entertaining. You could sell tickets to a Kohli press conference.
Even after an emphatic series win the tension between Kohli and the scribes is almost tangible.
Having completed a first ever bilateral ODI series win over the Proteas away from home, Kohli was keen to remind journalists gathered at Supersport Park how hard they had been on his team when, at the same venue, they went 2-0 down in the Test series.
When asked if this was his biggest: “One month back we were a very bad team.
“Now we are being asked these questions [which glorify the team]. We haven’t changed our mindset. We have just focused on our cricket.
“I don’t want to get lost in such thoughts: whether this is the biggest win or no. Our work is to play the game, strive hard, our work is to perform and try to win every match.
“Now whether this is the biggest win or not, whoever wants to analyse, write, will do so.
“For us as a team, our only motive is to give 120% effort, strive hard in practice, keep our mindset good on every day of the tour and prepare so well that we can go and win.
“We have achieved that this series, and that gives us most happiness.
“Creating these tags or headlines is not our work. We just wanted to play cricket, which we have executed perfectly this series.
“I know for a fact that 90% of the people didn’t give us a chance after two Tests. I was sitting in the same room giving a press conference.
“So we understand where we’ve come from. I’m not going to live in a dreamland right now and accept all the praise and sit here and feel good about this because it doesn’t matter to me.
“Honestly, it doesn’t. It didn’t matter when we were 2-0 down [in the Tests], it doesn’t matter when we’re 5-1 up.
“Because what matters is the respect in the change room. What matters is what the management thinks about me, what I think about the players and what the players think about me.
“That’s all that matters to me. These things do not matter.
“I know the headlines change day in and day out. Tomorrow I play a bad shot and get out for zero, everyone will conveniently do what they want to do.”
Kohli says the team will continue to focus on their cricket and ignore both positive and negative press.
He added: “We had the same mindset when we played in Sri Lanka recently, we had the same mindset when we beat Australia.
“When we beat Sri Lanka 9-0, everyone said it’s a weak team. When we beat Australia, they still said Australia is not a good ODI side.
“Then we beat New Zealand, then we beat Sri Lanka again, and we’ve beaten South Africa here again. So the focus has always been on the team.
“It doesn’t matter who is playing, who is not playing. Whether the team is what it is supposed to be or it’s not, it’s not in our hands and it’s none of our concern.”