India skipper Virat Kohli’s physical transformation in the last few years has been awe-inspiring, to say the least. In fact, the 29-year-old often attributes his stellar showing with the willow to his intense fitness regime. And after notching up his 34th ODI ton in the third match of the ongoing six-match ODI series against South Africa at Cape Town on Wednesday (February 7), Kohli again stressed on the importance of highly intensified training.
Virat scored an unbeaten 160 off 159 balls, his second century of the ODI series as the Men in Blue thumped South Africa by 124 runs to take an unassailable 3-0 lead.
"Look I am going to be 30 this year... I want to play this kind of cricket even when I am 34-35. That's why I train so much because I am a guy who likes to play with intensity. Once that is gone, I don't know what I am going to do on the field," Kohli quoted as saying by PTI after the third ODI.
"I try to protect that. I try to train as much as I can. Keep a check on my diet. Those things pay off on days like these. When the team needs it, and you stand up, and you are able to pull through. As an athlete you crave for days like these," he further added.
Talking about his marvelous effort to compile his third 150+ scores in one-day internationals, the Indian captain said that he had to continuously change his game through the innings.
Kohli forged a 140-run stand the second wicket with left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan (76 off 63 balls) before the Men in Blue lost the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik pandya, MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav in quick session.
The middle order collapse though didn’t restrain Virat’s run-scoring as he put on an unbeaten 67-run stand for the 7th wicket with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (16 off 19 balls). India finally finished on 303 for 6 in their quota of 50 overs.
"International runs are never easy. They are hard earned. Some might come on more batting-friendly pitches, but I think with their attack, and the pace and bounce they were getting initially, you had to adjust your game.
"Then the wicket got considerably slower after the 30th over, so you had to again adjust your game, and make sure, with wickets falling also, that you continued adjusting through the innings," Kohli said.
When asked about his mindset to approach the innings while batting first and batting second, the 205 ODIs veteran said: "Today I wanted to accelerate at different times. When Shikhar Dhawan was batting, my job was to take singles...and keep rotating the strike, to be able to get the partnership going. When he got out I wanted to accelerate but we lost 2-3 wickets immediately.
"When batting first, you switch roles – one guy is the aggressor and you become the guy who is rotating strike. When he goes, you take that role up and another guy rotates strike. That is how it is usually done.
"Batting second is very different in terms of knowing what you need to do, when to accelerate, when to keep those singles coming, etc. Batting first, you want to score as many as possible but sometimes the situation doesn't allow you to play in a certain way that you want to throughout the innings," he elaborated.
Having taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the six-match ODI series, Virat Kohli and company are now on the cusp of a historic series victory in the fourth ODI, slated to held in Johannesburg on Saturday (February 10).