India skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday said that the decision to be present during the birth of his first child was “absolutely clear” in his mind and he does not want to miss the special moment “at any cost”. Kohli will be featuring only in the opening Test against Australia and then will head back home after being granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). “It is a decision that was absolutely clear in my mind. As committed as you are to play for your country, this is a very, very special moment in life and something that you want to be there for at any cost,” Kohli told Australia’s Steve Smith in a video posted by BCCI.
In his absence, Ajinkya Rahane will lead India against the number one team on the World Test Championship standings. Kohli said he is excited to see how Rahane does the job and wants the latter to step up and relish the opportunity. Kohli also said that he is excited about how Hanuma Vihari plays against Australia.
“I am quite excited about how Ajinks goes. I think he is someone who will enjoy the responsibility of captaining while I am away. I think it is his time to really step up and I think he will relish the opportunity. One guy I am really looking forward to seeing bat here is Hanuma Vihari. I think he is a quite solid player,” Kohli said.
During the candid conversation with the Australia batsman, Kohli also revealed when he decided to take up cricket as a career.
“I always knew that I wanted to play the game at the highest level. The time when I really thought that I am definitely going to make this a career is when my father passed away. That’s the time when I realized that I have to get serious about this and actually give proper commitment and my focus cannot shift. I became single-minded from thereon to focus just on playing for India and play for a long time,” he said.
During last year’s 50-over World Cup, Kohli won hearts on social media after gesturing to the Indian crowd to stop booing Steve Smith.
Reflecting on the same, Kohli said: “You came back after a long time, having gone through everything that you had to. I feel, in life nothing can be that permanent and just felt like it is not fair to target an individual, personally. Because as much as we play against each other, there is human side to things as well… Yes, you are competitive on the field but you do not want to go nasty as such. That is one of the things which I realised. Long term, you do realise the importance of things from a larger perspective. So, I felt that was not right to do in that moment.”
Topics mentioned in this article