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India vs England: Winning the only thing that matters, says Virat Kohli

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LONDON: There have been some players over the years, who have been bogged down by the pressures of captaincy, but Virat Kohli doesn’t belong to that group. In 36 Tests that he has been in charge, the Indian captain has hit 15 centuries and there are enough indications that the numbers are going to rise along the course of this series.

But such inspiring batting performances from the skipper haven’t necessarily translated into success for the team outside the subcontinent. He has notched up centuries in three Tests in the last four years – at Adelaide, Centurion and Edgbaston – but India ended up on the losing side each time.

From outside, one would feel that it’s painful for the skipper, but Kohli says it doesn’t hurt just because he scores runs but the team doesn’t win. “It’s not that I feel bad that I got runs and we couldn’t get across the line. It is purely that we haven’t won the games. If I hadn’t got the runs and we had won, I would have had a totally different feeling,” Kohli said, putting the team-man in him ahead of the batsman self.

The 29-year-old will be happy if anyone scores runs – be it KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane or M Vijay – as long as India win. “It doesn’t matter whether I get the runs or somebody else. The only thing that matters is India crossing the line,” Kohli said.

Some decisions made by Kohli over the last one year have copped criticism. His decision to leave out Cheteshwar Pujara and Kuldeep Yadav in the first Test at Edgbaston was definitely one of them but the skipper says he is not taking the decisions alone.

“I am doing as much as I can as captain and there is constant feedback from the management. People have their own way of looking at the game and have their own ideas when it comes to captaincy. But I feel I have had really a good communication with all the players,” Kohli said.

The Delhi boy, who has been in charge in all formats since MS Dhoni decided to give up limited overs captaincy in 2017, maintains that he keeps talking to his bowlers when he gets down to finalize a strategy. “I definitely leave no stone unturned when it comes to getting in there and talking to the guys wherever I can from the strategy point of view. Sometimes it doesn’t come off and it looks like we are just about there,” Kohli said.

But the captain was prompt to add that India is not too far away from success. Even if they had lost a few games, those were tight ones and there’s every possibility that things will turn around very soon.

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