The Indian skipper and captain Virat Kohli said that he is not interested in whether anyone regards him as the best batsman in the world. Kohli’s team took India to an exceptional 5-1 series win over South Africa on Friday night, making one of the worst defeats South Africa have witnessed in home series in a bilateral series.
The 29-year-old cricketer also achieved his third century on Friday night as he made 129 runs off just 96 balls as India chased down a target of 205, conquering the match by eight wickets with more than 18 overs remaining. The series’ total runs of Virat Kohli (558 runs) was the highest by any cricketer in a bilateral series and the seventh highest in any one-day competition. The Indian Captain Kohli, however, was in no mood to get into the debate about whether he is the world’s best batsman. “I don’t feel like competing with anyone. It’s all about how I prepare, what my work ethic is like and how I’m feeling on game-day,” Kohli said.
“My only motivation is getting into that frame of mind. I only look to help my team in any way I can. If during the course of that, if you’re thinking about the team, special things happen. But if you’re thinking about being ahead of someone else, you’ll be found out very soon in this game, and then you’re compromising on what the team needs,” the 29-year-old cricketer said. He added that “I don’t want any tags, any headlines, I just go out there do my job. I don’t want to be called anything – it’s my job, I’m supposed to do what I’m doing”.
Kohli has already accomplished his 35th century on Friday, and only Sachin Tendulkar is ahead of him now, who has scored 49 centuries in ODI cricket. Tendulkar has scored 49 centuries in 463 matches, whereas Kohli has just played his 208th match on Friday. While Kohli wasn’t much interested in commenting on his status in the game, Indian coach Ravi Shastri not shied from giving his opinion about Kohli’s status. “I’ve seen him batting across all conditions in all formats and it’s not just averages, it’s the way you get runs when you get it and the impact those runs have on what the team does. I would safely say he’s the best batsmen in the world now,” Shastri said.
“Virat’s desperation to win games for his side is massive. That’s why he conducts himself the way he does, but it’s from a competitive point of view, there is nothing malicious. That desperation is shown when he bats, he doesn’t just want to get close to the line, he gets his side over the line and we saw that again tonight,” said South Africa’s stand-in captain Aiden Markram.