A fair understanding of each other already there, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday said he expects the going to be smooth with new coach Ravi Shastri as they are both well aware of what is expected of them.
Speaking to the media before the team’s departure for the tour of Sri Lanka — featuring three Tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20 starting July 26 — Kohli, for the first time, shared his views on Shastri’s appointment.
Shastri had earlier served as Team Director between 2014 and 2016. He pipped the likes of Virender Sehwag to clinch the chief coach position, left vacant by Anil Kumble after a fallout with Kohli.
“We have worked together for three years (2014-16). So there should be that kind of understanding (between us), that you can also understand, so I don’t think that I need to understand anything new about (coach and support staff) in this scenario,” Kohli said.
“As I have already said, we had worked earlier also, we know that what’s expected, what’s going on in the plate… So I don’t think there is any effort to understand (both) as we have worked earlier also,” he added.
Kumble resigned after the Champions Trophy where India finished runners-up. Weeks of drama followed before Shastri got the job.
“Lot of speculation and lot of things fly around, and those things are not in my control, so I just said my job is to go on the field and try to build the best team along with the management, try to perform, that’s my ability which I believe in,” Kohli explained.
Asked if he was feeling any added pressure given the events of the past few weeks, Kohli shrugged it off.
“I don’t think there is added pressure because what has to happen will happen, I believe in that regardless of what happens around in the outside world,” he said.
“As a team we aspire to achieve what we want to achieve, everyone of us faced hardships in the past, criticism and being criticised is nothing new. I certainly don’t take any added pressure because the responsibility has been given to me.
“…I continue to take up that responsibility, will continue to do so in the future years till the time I am captain or I am kept at this position…If you focus on all these external factors, it is similar that you go out for batting thinking what if I get out, it can happen in any scenario, you need to take care of your mindset and move forward.”
Kohli was not asked any direct question on Kumble, who had admitted that his equation with the captain had become “untenable”.
However, on a query regarding communication between players and the support staff, Kohli said, “I think understanding and communication works in every walk of life… we follow the same rules of life, I followed everywhere else.
“Everyone has gone through the experience of relationships, somewhere or the other in life, the same rules applies here, you know it is as simple as that, the coordination, and communication.”
Speaking about the tour, which begins with a practice match on July 21, Kohli said the team’s last trip to Sri Lanka was a landmark one.
“…If you look at the average age of that team, players have matured, it’s been 24 months, that tour was start of the belief system we can win away from home,” he said referring to the come-from-behind 2-1 Test triumph.
“…We showed more belief in our abilities and that we could win from any situation and that really turned our mindset around. From then on, you see the results that we had so far,” he added.