Self belief helped Kohli counter ‘doubters and haters’

Virat Kohli
India captain Virat Kohli celebrates victory against Australia in the second Test at Bangalore's M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. — AFP
Shukriya Pakistan

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli credited his self belief for hushing ‘doubters and haters’ after receiving the Polly Umrigar award for BCCI’s International Cricketer of the Year at the Cricket Board’s annual awards on Wednesday.

“All along in my career, there were many people who had doubted the way I have gone about my game. Even now there are doubters and haters all around, but one thing is for sure that I have always believed in myself,” he said.

Kohli, after being appointed as the Test team skipper in 2014, did not start very well — losing his first series as captain to Australia down-under followed by a draw against Bangladesh.

The slow start received severe criticism from the local and international cricket fraternity.

Kohli and co. came back stronger, beating South Africa in late 2015 and continuing the series winning run against England, New Zealand, West Indies and Bangladesh.

However, most success came at home for Kohli-led India.

“It is been quite unbelievable in the last 10 to 12 months. As cricketers you always have a breakthrough year for everyone. Starting late 2015 to the end of 2016, probably I could term is as the breakthrough year in my career,” said Kohli.

The team was under-fire recently after they lost the first Test match of their on-going series against Australia by 333 runs at Pune. A defeat which was followed by India’s 75-run victory in the second Test at Bangalore.

“It was good that we came back in the game. We were all sticking together. That (win) was very special and one of the best I have been part of,” said the 28-year-old.

Kohli, who boasts a batting average of 49 in Tests, said being counted as a top player in the world was his aim since he stepped into the game professionally.

“I always wanted to be one of the top players in the world for sure,” he said.

“So I understood what it would take for me to maintain my form in all three formats,” added the Delhi-born cricketer.

His figures in ODIs and T20Is also prove that he has been coping well with transition, which takes place rapidly in the modern-day game.

“It is very important in transition phase to be available in all three formats and take the country forward.”

The success did not come easy for the right-hander who is known to be one of the fittest athletes around.

“I always believed in my heart that if I work 120 per cent every day in my life I am answerable to no one,” said Kohli.

“All the hard work, all the training on a daily basis, all the sacrifices, came together nicely. It could not have been possible without the help of the teammates throughout,” he added.