India captain Rohit Sharma opted to rest in their final Asia Cup Super 4 match against Afghanistan, but Virat Kohli, opening the batting in his absence, smashed his 71st international century and his first in T20Is. Kohli went on to hit an unbeaten 122 off 61 deliveries as India romped to a 101-run win in Dubai. After the match, Kohli was interviewed by Rohit and he opened up about his innings and finally ending a century drought that lasted nearly three years.
“It was quite a special day for us. As a team, we had spoken after the last match that it matters what kind of attitude we play this match with. Because this tournament was important for us. We got exposure to knockout stages, we got exposure to pressure, but we all know what our goal is. It’s the World Cup in Australia and we are improving for that and we will learn from the matches we lost,” Kohli told Rohit.
“Personally, not just today but from the time that I returned to the team, I got a big break, and quite a few things came into perspective. And from you guys and the management, the communication was clear — to just let me bat. That was very important for me. The space I got from all of you guys, it really helped me relax in that whole phase. And when I came back, I was excited about how I could contribute to the team,” he added.
“I wanted to play like this because we have a big World Cup coming up, and if I play like this, I’ll be contributing more,” he said.
Kohli also admitted that he was “pleasantly surprised” that he got a century after such a long time in the T20 format.
While Kohli had 27 Test centuries and 43 in ODIs, he had never scored a T20I ton before Thursday.
Kohli also talked to the new India skipper about how he had been trying to slog more, which was not his natural game, and going back to playing his shots and finding gaps helped him regain his touch.
He also hailed KL Rahul for his fine half-century and said it was key for the team that Rahul also go into the World Cup in a “good space”.