Colombo: Virat Kohli is in sublime form. The right-hander notched up his second century of the series to guide India to a series-clinching six-wicket win in the fourth one-day International on Tuesday.
The Indians now lead the series 3-1. Virat and Suresh Raina shared an unbroken partnership of 146 off 112 balls. In the process, Virat also completed 1000 runs in a calendar year.
Asked the reason behind his tremendous form, Virat said: “Keeping things simple is the key to my form.”
The following are excerpts
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: The part-timers bowled really well in this game… The pace was very important and they bowled to their field to create trouble for the batsmen. What also mattered is the kind of variations you have at your disposal… Manoj gave me an extra option. We requested him to bowl a lot in the net sessions… Today, he bowled brilliantly and I’m quite happy with his effort.
Even when Manoj is not there, we have Virender Sehwag and Suresh Raina who can bowl. Virat can bowl his medium pacers with the ’keeper up. That is the sort of quality we have. So even if we don’t get a perfect all-rounder, we are comfortable playing seven batsmen.
Virat has improved a lot… He’s someone who doesn’t like to throw away his wicket. He may get off to a very slow start. But once gets set, he is very difficult to get out. He’s very hungry to get runs. Raina has also shown a lot of improvement. The time has come for him to bat at No. 4 or 5. But the problem is you have to see what’s best for the side… For the last one or two years, we haven’t found anyone who can fit in his shoes. I think batsmen have taken the responsibility in this series… It was important that the batsmen don’t throw it away after getting off to a start… I think they did that.
Mahela Jayawardene: India have a great batting line-up… To restrict the batsmen from scoring runs, you need to pick up wickets. But that’s where we lacked in the last few games. Even after taking wickets early, the bowlers failed to keep up the pressure on their batsmen. Our fielding was also poor and dropping catches didn’t help our cause. The wicket was a bit slow… We didn’t bat well and were 30-40 runs short…
When you are defending a target like that, you set attacking fields and try to take wickets from the beginning. We got those wickets, creating pressure on India. India needed to get through that period without losing any further wickets. They did that… They batted patiently and it became easy for them in the end.
Virat Kohli: It’s been going well for me. I’m just trying to keep it simple. Keeping things simple is the key to my form. I missed out on a good opportunity in the last match… I threw my wicket away after settling down… I believe that’s a crime, especially when you are batting at No. 3. I was extremely disappointed. I thought about it…
And I didn’t want to waste another opportunity. I practised a lot at the nets… Today, I took a lot of singles and never got bogged down. I think that’s worked for me today.
It is always pleasing for sportspersons when you perform and the team win. It is an extremely satisfying feeling. My motivation is to help the team win. It does make me happy if I can do that every now and then.
Luckily, I’m strong on the leg side… The shots come to me naturally. Malinga is a very dangerous bowler. If you don’t get on top of him, he can change the fortunes of a match very quickly. I try to play him carefully. It always helps if you maintain a strike rate of 78-85. It helps you towards the end when you need to accelerate.