In an entertaining event at the Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi, Virat Kohli was unveiled as the brand ambassador for Adidas Cricket. Speaking to the media at the event, the swashbuckling batting star answered a flurry of questions, the excerpts of which are as follows:
How do you react when Sachin predicts that you will be the one who will break his batting records?
Sachin has been my biggest inspiration since I started following the game. I feel very lucky to have played alongside him, and have got to learn a lot from him.
Do you feel the pressure to beat Sachin’s record of maximum centuries?
Pressure is created by the media. I don’t think much about all these things. I had never thought I would have had so many centuries so early in my career. The more centuries that I am able to score, the happier I will be.
We all know Sachin is your idol, but which non-Indian cricketer do you like the most?
It has to be Chris Gayle. For cricketing as well as non-cricketing reasons. He is a complete entertainer and I like watching him play. I have the best seat in the house when he plays with me.
Who is the toughest bowler you have ever faced?
There are two bowlers who I think are very tough to play against – Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.
Do you enjoy bowling? How did you develop your bowling action?
Unless someone wants to look funny, I’ll not recommend anyone to copy my bowling action. But on a serious note, with the confidence that I have got from the amount of runs I have been scoring, when I’m thrown the ball to bowl, I am pretty sure of what I have to do. I may not be the most attractive to watch while bowling, but I can be effective.
What has been your personal favourite innings?
The most special innings to be would have to be my first Test ton in Australia. And after that, I’ll rate the innings I played against Sri Lanka at Hobart where we needed a bonus point to be alive in the series.
If you weren’t a cricketer, then which profession would you have chosen?
I don’t know about profession, but if you ask me another sport, I will say it would have been soccer. I am very fond of the game, and I really enjoy playing it.
Do you have any specific favourite football team?
I support Real Madrid. I’m a big fan of Cristiano Ronaldo.
If you were to represent an international football team, which one would it be?
I’d say it would have been Germany, as their playing style is very aggressive, which is very similar to mine.
Often you have to play in tense and close matches. How you do manage to stay calm and stress-free?
What keeps me calm is the focus on what I have to achieve in the match. The main goal is to win games for my team. In tough situations, I try to stay as calm as possible, as I’m confident that if I keep batting, I can win the game for the team from any situation.
You seem to be hogging the limelight when it comes to presence in television advertisements, even beating the folks from film industry. How do you manage to find the balance between your cricket and brand endorsements?
It is quite difficult. Often there is a temptation to spend more time with family and friends, but it rarely happens for me at present. Endorsements are a reward for good performance on the field, and the commitments made after signing them need to be done.
It seems a new fad in the Indian team is to set fashion trends. Dhoni has a new hairstyle, while a few players now sport moustaches. What is your take on that?
Ours is a young team, and hence you will get to see such things from us. The public seems to make a trend out of our styles. You can expect more new things from us in the future.
You completed 5 years in international cricket in August this year. How do you look back at your journey in the sport?
The journey has been very good so far. I have been very lucky to win the World Cup so early in my career. I hope to continue the good run in the future as well.
Any comments on the doubts surrounding the series in South Africa?
Just like you, even we are waiting to know the decision on the series and I really can’t comment much on this matter.
Can performances in T20 cricket be considered a criterion to judge the form of a player?
I don’t feel there should be a criterion to judge any player in any format – Test, ODI or T20. A player knows whether he is in form or not, and I think that’s the only thing that matters.
The visiting Australian side will be without their skipper Michael Clarke. How do you rate their chances in the series in the absence of their captain?
Australia are a strong team even without Michael Clarke, and we will have to play well against them to win the series.
You are an aggressive player. The Australians are known to provoke opponents, more often the aggressive ones, while playing against them. How do you plan to handle that in the upcoming series against them?
I will look to give my response with my performances with the bat. But if things go out of hand, then we will see how to tackle that appropriately. Our present team doesn’t tolerate much nonsense and we believe in playing competitive cricket and trying to win in the right spirit.
What do you think about Yuvraj Singh’s comeback into the side?
I am very happy for him that he is back in the side. As I have said before, I didn’t have any doubts that he would be back soon. He went outside India, away from the limelight, to train and focus on his goal of making a comeback, and now that he’s back in the team, I hope that he performs even better than what he has done in the past. He will add invaluable experience to the middle-order and strengthen the team.