Port-of-Spain: Indian captain was in the hot seat as he addressed the media at the pre-match press conference on the eve of the first ODI of the 5 match ODI series against West Indies.
It came as no surprise that questions largely revolved around the Kohli-Kumble fallout.
Kohli too must have prepared himself for a barrage of questions in this regard as once again he was there speaking with an open mind and showed a lot maturity. Kohli was asked about the rift and the Indian captain was quick to reply saying he doesn”t want to talk about dressing room matters in public. Kohli was in no mood to divulge any details about the nature or cause of the rift and was quick to add that he had immense respect for Kumble as a player and his decision to step down.
When asked if the situation could have been handled better, Virat Kohli said, “Anil Bhai has expressed his views and taken a decision to step out and we all respect that decision. It is something that has happened right after the tournament. We have tried to create a culture in the change room that whatever happens there, we must maintain the sanctity of the change room. For us that is paramount and I will continue to respect that culture.” Kohli further reiterated that his respect for Kumble the player was utmost. “I have the utmost respect for his decision and the cricketer that he has been and all that he has achieved for the nation. There is no taking away from him on that aspect and we all respect him.
Virat Kohli, however, did admit at such matters were best kept in the dressing room and he would not like to drag dressing room talks into the public domain. “See as I mentioned, for me, it is important to maintain the sanctity of the change room. What happens in the change room is very sacred and private to all of us. Something that I would not express in detail in a public scenario. His point of view is out there and we respect that.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli got talking about on-field cricket and added that this team pretty much forms the nucleus for the 2019 World Cup, however, a slightly larger pool of players will be added, though he admitted the current side has all bases covered “The team is going to remain more or less the same. Maybe there could be 10 more players and then from a pool of say 25 players, you look at a different player at different stages. Who is responding to pressure situations the best is something we need to look at as a team. There are some exciting prospects in India right now who have done well in the IPL and in domestic cricket. They will get a chance to showcase their talent in the next two years and I am sure by 2019 we will have the best 15 available to go to the World Cup. The team currently has all bases covered and we have a lot of belief in ourselves as a group.
Kohli admitted captaincy has made him more responsible and on a lighter note added that the gray hairs would keep coming till he would remain captain. “When you play as a player you don”t understand the dynamics of being a captain. The responsibility becomes much larger. It makes you a better person in terms of how to react to different players and on how to motivate different players. That is a kind of maturity I would give a few gray hairs for sure. It will keep coming in the coming years until the time I stay captain.”