Kohli attributes attitude, adaptability as keys for India’s success

“Well, I couldn’t explain that. Maybe it did. Maybe it didn’t. Maybe it was just decision-making, or I don’t know what the players are feeling inside. It’s for them to assess, not me,” was Virat Kohli’s answer to one of the many questions around just ‘pressure’ that cropped up ahead of India’s clash against England at Edgbaston.
Kohli’s prediction of low totals being defended and high scores not easily made during the World Cup has gained poignancy as the tournament progressed. And particularly so in relation to England’s campaign so far. Eoin Morgan has raised the issue of adaptability as one area that he’d want his batting team to show improvement. It echoed Kohli’s sentiments as well.
“To be a good quality side, you need to adapt to the situation that is in front of you. In the last two games, I literally experienced that the pitch deteriorated while I was playing,” said Kohli.Therein could lie a difference in the mentality of the two sides as well. Moeen Ali in his latest column on The Guardian writes, “The difference is, you get out playing a defensive stroke or a guided shot like that, the criticism isn’t nearly the same. More credit goes to the bowler too. But break it down and the two reactions don’t make sense. Both shots are played on merit and both are failures in execution, rather than selection. Yet attacking shots attract more heat.” Kohli would probably beg to differ.
Explaining his attitude so far, Kohli says: “It’s not a thing that I go in with a certain mindset and, if the pitch is not according to what I’m feeling, I’ll slog and get out. I think it’s about finding ways to win, finding ways to score runs. That’s something we take a lot of pride in as a team, and I just want us to focus on that.”
The make-up of the two teams are as different as chalk and cheese and there can no be no shoe that fits both, but with England under pressure to deliver, and at risk of getting knocked out, there cold be some common ground.On just how he’s handling pressure so far, Kohli said, “Well, the focus is basically to do individually what we have been selected to do, what we have been doing for years. The more basic you can keep things in a tournament like the World Cup, the better chances you have of being one up against the opposition under pressure. The more you attach emotion or excitement or too much pressure to an occasion, you can’t make good decisions.”
For Kohli handling pressure is also about the attitude that you carry in. “I would say that’s a lie if I say I’m not under pressure. I’m probably good at hiding it, so that’s why you feel like that. Everyone feels pressure. Everyone feels butterflies in their stomach. I’m glad that I feel like that. If I don’t, then probably I don’t have enough motivation to play anymore because, when you walk up to bat, you don’t necessarily look at the number of runs you’ve scored or what you’ve done in your career. It’s about that particular day. That is the excitement that all of us carry as international cricketers is to walk into a pressure situation and come out on top and feel like, yes, we’ve done something for the team today.
“So I think those are the kinds of things that drive me and everyone else in the change room. You give anyone a difficult situation and have them bat well in that situation and get the team out of trouble, there’s no better feeling. So I look forward to that, and maybe that’s why my body language is the way it is. But in all honesty, everyone feels pressure. It’s just the way you portray it to the opposition is what makes all the difference.“I think your attitude needs to be right. You need to feel the pressure but want it. If you feel the pressure and you don’t want it, then it shows on the field. I’m glad that I want it at the moment, and I’m able toe put myself in that mindset, and I hope I can keep contributing for the team.