Swashbuckling Indian batsman Virat Kohli has said that he is completely focussed on his goals. Virat was speaking ahead of the India-England test series beginning in Nottingham on Wednesday. He has had a mixed year, starting well with a couple of wonderful innings in the world T20, but then fading away during the IPL. His team Royal Challengers Bangalore could not even make the playoffs. India’s Test number four has had a good rest as he was not part of team India for the Bangladesh tour.

About the England tour, Kohli said, “This is right up there with South Africa, Australia, New Zealand. And England, I would say, these are the four places where the subcontinent players do want to perform well and do target. I too have that in my mind. A pretty special place to play cricket. I’ll be playing a Test at Lord’s for the first time so all in all a very exciting tour for me personally because I have never played Test cricket here before. I am really looking forward to it. I have some goals I want to achieve, and I have been thinking about them. I am pretty excited about playing here, and it is right up there with the toughest venues for subcontinent players.”

About the high expectations from him and Cheteswar Pujara, he added, “I think it is more important what we expect of ourselves. Obviously people will expect things when you start performing, but you can’t focus on that. Because then, firstly you put pressure on yourself, and secondly you drift away from what you want to do. If you think of what you expect from yourself, you stick to your plan. We’d rather stick to that. Obviously we realise that we both have performed consistently in Test cricket. We want to keep on going like that.

“Cheteshwar has been brilliant for us at No. 3 and a really solid player. Gives us that feeling of calm. Him and me have got some good partnerships that have helped us get into stronger positions in Test matches. We both realise that, but we aren’t thinking too much into those things. You can’t plan for things unless you are batting in the middle and you are set. And then you can dictate terms. Once you get going you start to think about that big partnership that changes the course of the game.”

He also looked back at the 2007 tour where India lost 4-0, adding, “We haven’t spoken about what we did wrong in that series. We’ve spoken about the positives we could take out of it. A guy who played brilliantly in that series, Rahul Dravid, is mentoring us right now, speaking about his experiences. That’s a big plus. We can’t focus on the things that went wrong. You don’t want to think about them. That was a different time.

Three years down the line, we have a totally new side. It’s a very exciting time for us because most of us haven’t played Test cricket here. It’ll be exciting for us to experience the conditions and everyone’s eager to go out there and see what it’s like. We’ve heard a lot from senior players of how it’s one of the best places in the world to play Test cricket. You get full crowds, everyone’s involved in the game and everyone knows the game, so it’s an exciting time for us. We don’t want to think about the negatives of 2011. Obviously, we’d like to do well in the series. It’s not about washing that [2011] off, erasing those memories. That will stay in the history books, whether we like it or not. All we can focus on is the new series we have here, and put in a strong performance which would be a starting point for this young team to go ahead and be a good quality Test side.”


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