West Indies v India, 1st Test, Antigua, 2nd day July 23, 2016

Would never ask players to do what I cannot - Kohli

ESPNcricinfo staff

Play 01:17
'Great to see Kohli's intensity and desire to score big runs'

Since taking over the reins as Test captain, Virat Kohli has consistently favoured a five-bowler strategy, signalling a result-orientated mindset and a willingness to place greater responsibility on the top five batsmen. On the first two days of the ongoing Antigua Test, Kohli showed what it meant to shoulder that responsibility by shoring up a line-up that had wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha listed at No. 6 with his maiden first-class double-hundred.

"Playing five batsmen is a bit of an added pressure on the batsmen but that is what we want to take up as a challenge," Kohli told bcci.tv, after his 200 led India to 566 for 8 in the first innings against West Indies. "The batsmen decided to take up the responsibility. As captain, I would never ask the players to do what I cannot do myself first."

On a sluggish pitch, the onus on the batsmen was not only to score, but to score fast enough to give the bowlers time to take 20 wickets. Kohli was the only one to take up this dual responsibility. He stayed in and scored big, while also displaying a positive, busy approach that was missing in many of his colleagues. He finished with a strike rate of 70.

"I backed myself to be positive, backed myself to score quickly because I knew if we had to bowl the opposition out, we need enough time for the bowlers to be fresh again and also have breaks in between," Kohli said. "I had decided in the change room that I am going to go out there, be positive and show intent, and the runs started flowing."

Kohli also spoke of the differences between his mindset in the dressing room and in the middle, and said he was "at peace" most while batting. "When you are in the change room, you're interacting with people, you get to know what people are saying and what people close to you expect from you. I think those are the things that give pressure.

"When I go out to bat, I am all by myself and my batting partner. People don't understand that I am actually at a lot of peace when I am batting alone out there because I don't have to interact with too many people and don't have to listen to their expectations or know what they require of me. I can literally reflect on myself, understand what my thoughts and mood are and then work on those things. That is why I always prefer being out there in the middle than getting to know these things from people." 

Kohli's 200 was also the first double-century by an India captain away from home, five years after he made his Test debut in the Caribbean.

"I made my debut here and it wasn't a memorable series for me. Coming back here and getting a double-hundred gives me a lot of satisfaction, purely because of the fact that I have missed a couple of big scores in the past. I know I have the ability to get big hundreds. This is my first double-hundred in first-class matches in general, so this is something I always wanted to do and I am feeling really grateful today that I was able to cross the mark."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Raj on July 27, 2016, 15:45 GMT

    I am a great fan of Kohli's. As captain, "I would never ask the players to do what I cannot do myself first".He can hardly bowl but he needs to tell the bowlers that we need to take 20 wkts. I guess his comment was limited to batsmen though he said players.

  • Ashik on July 24, 2016, 5:18 GMT

    Kohli's hard work is paying rich dividend. It is not about scoring runs, but the consistency in which he scores them. That shows the amount of hard work he puts in. He is a great influence to youngsters.

  • Santosh on July 24, 2016, 3:11 GMT

    @Voosan...wow. You couldn't be more wrong. No one cares about playing safe in the world. time for new approaches and tactics. You must be 60 years old!

  • Sam6894 on July 24, 2016, 1:20 GMT

    Though I am fan of Chennai, I support Virat in his opinion. For past 4 years, Dhoni never taken responsibility in his shoulders while batting. He always put the pressure to colleagues to chase the run. If Dhoni is out to bat then you could always expect the run rate climbing above 10 always while chasing. Elsewhere Virat isn't like that. He always taken the responsibility whether chasing or put the target on board. He keep the run rate in his control. Similar thing, Dhoni always in safe mind to pick many batsmen instead chose 5 attacking bowlers. This also one of the reason for Dhoni miserably failed in test matches outside India. Virat's attacking mind set will produce results for sure.

  • Dal on July 23, 2016, 22:49 GMT

    DEAN PAUL VAN ZYL Have you understood what he has said....he basically saying he does what he expects from his players. stop trying to pick faults in a simple statement, it suggests a lack of a basic understanding of the game

  • Mani on July 23, 2016, 20:45 GMT

    This is the same thing Langer said of Ponting! Ponting would never ask something if he thinks he cannot do it! Ricky is my most favorite cricketer all time! He was simply the best, as a batsman, leader, fielder and stayedy positive! Shades of him in Kohli!

  • cricin0251473 on July 23, 2016, 18:55 GMT

    would never ask players to do what I can't is a bit offensive for me as a Dhoni fan, as our captain cool always asks from the team what he can't and get the results. a successful player cannot be a successful captain, Dhoni knows it

  • mailto5571764 on July 23, 2016, 18:39 GMT

    All he means is that he wouldn't ask players to put 200% if he is not doing that himself.

  • Dost on July 23, 2016, 15:55 GMT

    In other words, what he is trying to say is, he wants to lead from the front and walk the talk. Which is good. This is how every team needs to be. Every successful team has had captains who has led from the front, motivated the players, try to bring the best out of players. Given this, such statement from Kohli is a moot and meaningless point.

    There are very few examples of captains leading successfully but not contributing or leading from the front. You may get lucky once in a while that the team keeps winning even though captain isn't doing much. But such things don't last longer. When you are playing at this level, you are under microscope and everyone is watching. Looking back in the history, every successful captain has made significant contribution to the success of the team. On the contrary, every contribution of the captain might not result in a success (Big gaping example when Tendulkar captained Indian team)

  • Dost on July 23, 2016, 14:31 GMT

    I'm sure he is only referring to batting right. He isn't talking about bowling. Kohli needs to be careful when he says such things. He is a captain. As a player, he might excel only one part of the game. There are others who need to contribute equally to the success of the team.

    Just continue to do what you do the best, don't talk much or become wise and know what you need to speak before the public

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