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‘Whoever gets a chance is performing’ – Kohli delighted after South Africa sweep

Virat Kohli
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Virat Kohli, the India skipper, lavished praise on his side after their 3-0 sweep over South Africa at home, adding that every player who gets a chance has stepped up to the challenge.

India completed their third victory of the series by an innings and 202 runs in Ranchi on Tuesday, October 22. It was an exceptional performance by the No.1 Test side in the world, who now have more World Test Championship points than all other teams combined.

Predictably, Kohli was enthused after their performance against the Proteas. “All three matches in the series were pretty good and even in one match we didn’t get all out and we won 3-0. It’s a spectacular team performance, rare it is that you get to see that whoever gets a chance is performing,” he said.

“It’s something to be happy about for us, that we’ve created a culture where people don’t think about themselves and put the team first. Only then are these performances possible. When you think about yourself, you come under pressure, but when you think about the team, it becomes a collective performance.”

One of the biggest positives for India from the series was the performance of Rohit Sharma, who racked up 529 runs in just four innings at the top of the order. He averaged 132.25 in the series, scoring three centuries, including his maiden double hundred in Tests which came in the final game in Ranchi.

“As an opener, Rohit has anticipation of the challenges that he may face in Test cricket, because in one-day, he has been one of the best in the world for quite some time,” acknowledged Kohli.

“So to overcome that and to have batted the way he did, because of the rate at which he scored, even after missing two-three sessions in a Test, we had so much time to bowl and dismiss the opposition twice. Credit goes to the player because he was able to overcome the pressure and anxiety to produce a Man of the Series performance in his first very first series as an opener.”

Since Kohli took over as a regular captain in January 2015, India have won 33 out of 52 Tests, losing just nine. Their win/loss ratio is an astounding 3.666 in this duration, with no other team coming close – England are a distant second with 1.074. They have also won five out of their last six Test series, and look in ominous form going into the New Zealand Tests next year.

“Every team goes through this period where things are happening beautifully and the mindset is right and the intent is there, the execution is there, the respect for the game is there. And it’s not by chance,” Kohli said.

“We’ve really worked hard over the last four years to be where are now and now guys like Nadeem coming in, for him to come in bowl in a spot and not try to impress anyone shows you that he came in and bought into what the team wants immediately. That’s been our motto and that’s going to be our motto. We will definitely make mistakes and have bad sessions and situations. But we will always be keen to learn and improve.”

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