'Scoring 10,000 Test runs would make me happy'

Virat Kohli on his aggression, learning from mistakes, being a youth icon.

Kohli receiving the Arjuna Award from President Pranab Mukherjee.

The road from rebellion to responsibility is a long one. But Virat Kohli has made the journey as easy as silken drives that he plays. From being misunderstood at 19 to being touted as the next India captain at 24, Kohli has indeed come a long way.

When one is the most eligible bachelor in Indian cricket and lives life kingsize, the spotlight is bound to be relentless.

But there is something about Kohli that sets him apart. While he wears his heart on his sleeve like Sourav Ganguly, he can also show a sharp mind like Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Some of the knocks that he has played when chasing stiff targets have prompted people to consider him one of the best in the business after just five years at the international level.

But it wasn’t all rosy to start with. Handling fame and adulation isn’t everybody’s cup of tea and Kohli too has learnt it the hard way.

After winning the U-19 World Cup in 2008, he was being branded brash and arrogant. But those who have seen Kohli over the last five years vouch for the fact that testing times have only made him stronger.

Kohli said that he himself doesn’t know how he manages to be both aggressive as well as calm on a cricket field, according to the need of the hour.

"I am focused and know exactly what is expected of me." “I have often asked myself how I manage to be someone who is very aggressive on the field, but at the same time with bat in hand, I am focused and know exactly what is expected of me. Generally you would associate an aggressive person to play rash shots and get out. But the fact that as a batsman, you need to earn the respect of the opposition by scoring runs is what keeps me going,” Kohli told Mail Today on the sidelines of the India Today Mind Rocks 2013.

Sachin Tendulkar has often said that if there is one batsman who can break his record of 100 centuries in international cricket, it is Kohli. But the Delhi lad feels there are cricketers much more talented than him.

“But what keeps me going is the self-belief and determination. I have learnt from my mistakes. I got carried away during my first stint in the IPL. When I got dropped from the Indian team, I was really disappointed and realised that certain things needed to be eliminated so that I can go ahead and live my dream,” he said.

“I don’t have any milestones in mind and the only record that would make me happy is scoring 10,000 Test runs. That would be really satisfying.” While he is touted as the next India captain, Kohli feels leading the country at the senior level is far more difficult than at the U-19 level.

“I didn’t have any big names playing under me in 2008 when we won the U-19 World Cup. But when it comes to the senior team, you have players whom you have grown up watching. So it does get a bit difficult to pass orders and move them around the field. M.S. Dhoni has had a tougher job to do when he captained India for the first time than I had when I went to Zimbabwe as captain because I had a comparatively young side,” he revealed.

Being a youth icon, Kohli is always under the scanner, but he doesn’t mind it as it has helped him become a lot more organised in life. “If me talking to youngsters can motivate them, I am game. I have also become more organised which has helped my game,” he signed off.

Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.

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