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“Awkward to play in front of a pavillion named after me”: Virat Kohli

First Published: 10th October, 2023 11:14 IST

A pavillion at the stadium, known earlier as the Feroz Shah Kotla, is named after the former India skipper

 India’s batting ace Virat Kohli said it would be awkward to play in front of a pavillion named after him at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium, where he honed his skills playing age-group cricket and Ranji Trophy.

After opening their World Cup campaign with a comfortable win over the mighty Australians, India will take on Afghanistan in their second fixture at the quadrennial showpiece at Delhi on Wednesday.

A pavillion at the stadium, known earlier as the Feroz Shah Kotla, is named after the former India skipper.
In a video posted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Virat was discussing his partnership with KL Rahul against Australia, which eventually turned the match in India’s favour.

The discussions in the video then veered to Virat fronting up to bowlers near a pavilion named after him.
“For me, that is the stadium where I grew up playing age group, Ranji cricket. I also played for India there. Those memories stay fresh in your mind. You can feel it because that is where everything started, selectors saw you for the first time and gave you an opportunity. It is special to go back and play at Arun Jaitley Stadium. We used to practice in B grounds and watch Ranji teams practice in the main grounds. It is awkward for me to be playing in front of a pavillion named after me. I do not like to talk about it a lot. But it is a great honour and I feel happy and grateful about it, it is something I never felt would happen to me,” Virat said in the video.

Talking about their 165-run partnership against Australia, which helped them chase down a target of 200 runs after beinng reduced to 2/3, Virat said that it was “bit more special” than their partnership in the Asia Cup against Pakistan of 233 runs for the third wicket.

KL said he was tired over the course of the partnership and had not expected to come out to bat so early.
“Tired I would not lie. The only chat after 50-70 runs of the partnership was, let us conserve our energy, let us not run the twos. Once we hit it in the gaps, our instincts took over and we started running. It was nice to start the WC with a win,” Rahul said.

“I never expected it. You do lose a couple of wickets when the ball is doing something. But not like that. It still takes four or five overs, not 1.5 or two overs. I just came and sat when I came out of the shower. When Ishan got out, I rushed to get taped and started wearing my pads. Then Rohit got out, Shreyas too. With Shreyas, I thought he would bat atleast two overs. But he was out on the first or second ball,” he added.

Virat said that a highlight of their partnership was how content they were with knocking the ball around.
“A highlight of our partnership was how content we were to knock the ball around and not necessarily look at our runs and balls, just fighting through the physical challenges of what we had experienced. Pressure also makes you more tense and gives you more fatigue. Just knocking the ball around, bringing down the total 10-15 runs at time, that for me I felt helped us build a big partnership,” Virat said.

KL said that he planned to play his first ten overs like Test cricket.

“I planned to play the first ten overs like Test cricket. I do open the batting. We have been in situations where the ball does something. So I told myself to be a bit conservative and kill Australia’s momentum. You were content with knocking it around, but also showed intent and punished them when they got off the radar,” the gifted batter said.

In the closing minutes of the clip, Virat said, “The team feels great after a win like this. Hopefully, we can build on this and go a long way in this tournament.” (ANI)

Also Read: CWC: Virat Kohli wins ‘Gold medal’ for best fielding against Australia in Chennai

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