Virat Kohli, apart from being the top-ranked batsman in the world for quite some time, has been Team India’s best batsman across formats for a long time. While the former still stands true, the latter isn’t quite so with the turn of events in the ongoing World Cup. It’s Rohit Sharma who has been going hammer and tongs in the tournament with a record five hundreds in a single edition, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the Team Indian Captain has been efficiently playing second fiddle. Ahead of the big semi-final against New Zealand on Tuesday, Kohli asserted that personal milestones have never been important to him, and the team’s interests were always on topmost priority. The cricketer stated that’s the reason he’s happy to play the role of ‘controlling’ the innings while letting his teammates ‘express themselves.’ The 30-year-old reserved special praise for the opening batsman, terming him the ‘top ODI player in the World’, while hoping he gets two more centuries so that Team India can lay hands on the trophy at Lord’s on July 14.
Addressing media on Monday ahead of the clash in Manchester, Kohli was asked if he felt he missed out on getting hundreds in the tournament, at a time Sharma has created a storm. The Captain replied, “No, not at all. It’s been a different kind of role that I’ve had to play in this World Cup. As the captain of the team, I’ve been open to any kind of role that the team wants me to play.
“It’s great that Rohit is scoring so consistently, which means that coming in the later half of the innings, you have to play a different role, which is controlling the middle overs and letting guys like Hardik (Pandya), Kedar (Jadhav) and MS (Dhoni) in the past few games, and Rishabh (Pant) come out and express themselves.
“I’ve understood that roles can vary a lot in One-Day Cricket depending on the time you step in to bat, and I’ve been happy with holding one end, letting guys express themselves, striking at 150-60 or 200 if the team needs, and then I know that I can accelerate in the end.
“Personal milestones is honestly something no one ever focusses on. Rohit said the same thing the other day, he’s only trying to do the best for the team and in that process, special things happen, which is something I’ve always believed in my career so far.
“I could never imagine I could get the number of hundreds I have. The only focus has always been the team. I think playing a team sport, you need to be able to adapt, and I’m very happy doing that role.
About Sharma, Kohli added, “Hope he gets two more (hundreds) so that we can win two more games because it's an outstanding achievement. Never seen anyone get 5 hundreds in a World Cup or be any tournament. World Cup is all the more pressure, he’s been outstanding and he deserves all the credit. According to me, at the moment, he is the top ODI player in the world.”
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Though Kohli has not got any hundreds, like his teammate he too has set a major record. The No 3 batsman has become the first Captain to score five consecutive fifties in the tournament’s history. He’d have probably even got the sixth one agaist Sri Lanka on Saturday, had he got enough runs after Sharma’s partnership with KL Rahul.