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The change of format is so quick that you have to adapt: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli
India cricketer Virat Kohli is interviewed following day four of the cricket test match. (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Virat Kohli did not have the best of the time when he travelled to the West Indies last time in 2011. The young man, playing in his debut series, had failed to do anything significant with the bat. But, five years later, Kohli returned to the islands, this time as the captain of the side, and made a statement right away, scoring a double hundred and leading the way to register a wonderful win by an innings and 92 runs.

Kohli’s 200 was also the first double-century by an India captain away from home, five years after he made his Test debut in the Caribbean.

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“I made my debut here and it wasn’t a memorable series for me. Coming back here and getting a double-hundred gives me a lot of satisfaction, purely because of the fact that I have missed a couple of big scores in the past. I know I have the ability to get big hundreds. This is my first double-hundred in first-class matches in general, so this is something I always wanted to do and I am feeling really grateful today that I was able to cross the mark.”

Since becoming the skipper, Kohli has always opted for a five bowler strategy which means that the batsmen will have to perform better every time they come out to bat. The very same factor also stopped him from getting reckless and prize his wicket by avoiding risky aerial shots.

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“Playing five batsmen is a bit of an added pressure on the batsmen but that is what we want to take up as a challenge,” Kohli told bcci.tv, after his 200 led India to 566 for 8 in the first innings against West Indies. “The batsmen decided to take up the responsibility. As captain, I would never ask the players to do what I cannot do myself first.”

“I backed myself to be positive, backed myself to score quickly because I knew if we had to bowl the opposition out, we need enough time for the bowlers to be fresh again and also have breaks in between,” Kohli said. “I had decided in the change room that I am going to go out there, be positive and show intent, and the runs started flowing.”

“There’s a challenge for modern day batsman, the change of format is so quick that you have to adapt. If you want to be the best, adaptability is one thing you have to do well. Sandeep Patil asked me if I could hit a six through the innings and I said playing five batsmen, I can’t hit sixes.”

Also, read – Jason Holder laments on poor performance in first Test

Talking about the team’s combined efforts, Kohli said that he wanted to back his players, but also that an extra spinner can be played depending on condition.

“We want to win every game we play, that’s always been our vision and aim. I’m confident and aim in the skill we have. If they give us a dry wicket, three spinners come into play with Jadeja’s batting. In the field we were good too, Saha with six catches.

“Shikhar was batting very well. Ashwin as well, brilliant innings down the order. And to have someone like him getting a ton down the order is wonderful. With 5 batsmen, we had to deepen the order so we had Ashwin at six. He’s pretty good at both. We had a look at the wicket, our initial thought was 3 spinners, but with the amount of grass on offer we decided for 3 pacers.”

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