A dominant India secured their first-ever Test series in Australia by a margin of 2-1 last week. With this win, Team India ended a 71-year long wait to taste the success of Test series triumph down under and also reinforced their status as the numero uno side.
Consequently, Virat Kohli became the first Indian as well as the first Asian captain to seal a Test series on Australian soil.
In an exclusive interview with bcci.tv, Kohli reflected on the historic triumph and said that special things don’t happen if you're too practical all the time.
"I don't like to say things which I cannot do myself, that's just not my personality. I speak a lot to the team because I personally feel that once your real emotion and the passion of the game comes out, you can do special things that you can't imagine otherwise. If you're too practical about the things all the time I think that special, unbelievable performance when no one gives you a chance, is very hard to come by. But I think in times where you are on top or the game is in balance, is the time you need to be practical and tactically spot on as well, which I have learnt a lot in this series,” Kohli quoted.
"But come crunch situations, I'm always willing to talk to the team in team huddles and the change-room - what's needed to be done - but for that my energy has to be 120 per cent on the field. And for that I'm always ready and willing to throw myself around and say to the boys 'okay, this is what is expected out of everyone because this is what Team India needs, not me'. Even if I wasn't there and someone else was there, if that person asked us to throw ourselves around for the team, we should be willing to do that. This is not only my vision, this is Team India's vision and Indian cricket's vision.
"We want to be competing and winning at a global level, not just winning at home and not be competing every where because we certainly have the talent. Sometimes you need to bring that emotion out, that pride out of playing for India and you see the body starts reacting in a different way. You find that 10 per cent of energy more in difficult situations, when the pride and the emotion of playing for your country comes up," he added.
After MS Dhoni’s shock retirement from red-ball cricket in 2014, Kohli had officially taken over India’s Test captaincy at the Sydney Cricket Ground and it is at the very venue he rewrote the history books.
Wins in the first Test in Adelaide and third Test in Melbourne ensured that India could not lose the four-match series while their batsmen, led by Cheteshwar Pujara’s herculean 193, batted Australia out of the fourth Test with a daunting first innings total of 622/7 (declared).
Kohli also talked about the much-debated topic of intensity. Citing the example of Pujara, the Indian captain said despite him not being as expressive, he offers the same amount of intensity to the team.
"Intensity has very different meanings for everyone. A Pujara is as intense in the mind as me - he does not show it, that's a different thing and that's his personality - a Jinks [Ajinkya Rahane] does not show it because that's his personality, a Shami might not show it because that's just him, a Bumrah you might see a little bit more or Ishant you might see a little bit more. But everyone is intense in their minds because the culture that's been laid out is - no one remembers individual performances, it's a team game, it's supposed to be played like a team and if you win as a team, you're remembered as a team.
"Jadeja runs the fastest - I'm not saying you have to run as fast as Jadeja but why is he running fast? Because he has the right mindset, he wants to save one run for the team. As long as the mindset is right, within the limitations, I think everyone should be at their 100 per cent and that's something that the whole team has embraced beautifully. They have understood that they are not asked to be like someone but they have to be the best of themselves on the field to be able to contribute towards the team. I think everyone is in a comfortable and motivated space now," he explained.