Fit-again Kohli raring to go and spark

After a troublesome shoulder kept him out of a Test match and then ended an eight-year sequence of games for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Virat Kohli is declared match fit by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and is set to return to competitive cricket with the match against Mumbai Indians on Friday (April 14).


Kohli, who attended in a press conference at the M Chinnaswai Stadium in Bangalore on Thursday and arrived 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled time with a big smile on his face, confirmed that he was fit to play on Friday and that he will take over the captaincy from the Australian all-rounder Shane Watson.

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“Yeah [can’t wait to get back to playing], and it has been a while since I sat on this chair,” Kohli said. “I got hit [on the shoulder] on the 16th [of last month], so it has almost been a month since I was injured and it is never a good feeling when you have played for seven-eight years without missing a game at all.

“Resting [from a game] is different, missing because of injury is very different. I am just delighted to be back. Maybe that [injury] was just to reignite the spark in you that needs to stay. when you play a lot of cricket that can tend to go down. Luckily, it has stayed and now I am more excited to take the field.”

Kohli hinted that he may play both de Villiers and Gayle tomorrow and have Kedar Jadhav keep wickets.

“Chris has always been a priority for us in the past so many seasons. Last game was a scenario where AB came in, Watto (Shane Watson) came in and other two guys were bowling well. I think that is why Chris was left out in the last game, but yes what works for us in Bangalore we would definitely go with the strongest combination possible. Chris is the top contender for us to be playing the home games for us,” Kohli made it clear.

In his absence, Shane Watson led the side but the captain refused to comment on his captaincy style but said he learnt a few things and that the Australian did a good job.

“I am in no position to judge anyone. I have said this about myself as well. I am not a senior in terms of captainship. Yes, I have learnt a lot along the way and I continue to do so. Shane I think did a very good job. He has been very patient with them. He had his plan spot on.”

During the home series against Australia, Kohli has showed signs of cracking. The 28-year-old, however, admitted he was still learning and the time off has given him the chance to think things through.

“During the course of such a big series (against Australia), you tend to go into a zone,” Kohli said in reply to a question on whether the IPL is a chance to break away from the negativity of the Aussie series.

“Sometimes you think in hindsight, ‘maybe I could have done things differently, handled myself differently’. But if you look at the larger picture, you understand what’s important for the team. I learnt a lot from that phase. Learning as a captain, learning as an individual, learning as a person.

“So as I said, I can’t control the focus bit. I always try and focus on my game. The cameras and the TV package is not in my control. So I wouldn’t say I will be disappointed if the attention is on me again because I am used to it. But I’ll definitely handle it better than I have in some instances in the past.”

Kohli’s side, who have lost Australia paceman Mitchell Starc and India opener Lokesh Rahul to injuries, have lost two of their three matches in the April 5-May 21 tournament.

– Jannatul Naym Pieal, Correspondent,

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