India captain Virat Kohli spoke with Bangladesh cricketer Tamim Iqbal in an Instagram live on Monday, giving insight on a number of aspects about his game, including his mindset while chasing and how he prepares himself before a match.

Kohli said that the Indian team’s ability to play fast bowling has improved greatly because of throwdown specialist D Raghavendra – a member of the Indian team’s support staff. The skipper said that Raghu generates great speed with a sidearm – a cricketing equipment that is shaped like a long spoon – which helps the batsmen get used to rapid pace.

“I believe the improvement this team has shown while playing fast bowling since 2013 has been because of Raghu,” said Kohli. “He has good concepts about footwork, bat movement of players. He has improved his skills so much that from sidearm he easily hurls the balls at 155 kmph. After playing Raghu in nets, when you go into the match, you feel there is a lot of time,” Kohli added.

Asked by Iqbal if he ever has doubts about his ability before a big game, Kohli said it’s impossible for a player to not have negative thoughts.

“To be honest, I never doubt myself in match situations. Everyone who is human has doubts and weaknesses. They have their negatives. So in practice during tours, if you haven’t had a good session you feel you don’t have that flow,” said Kohli.

“Yes, doubts creep in then and it’s at the back of your mind. Key is to keep going and get into that zone till you feel that it was just distraction. If I believe I am good enough, then I am good enough. The best part about a match situation is that you don’t need to think so much. You react to situations knowing your role. Negative voices always come off the field when you are not in competition mode.”

Talking about his incredible record in chases, the 31-year-old said that he always wanted to be a player who guides his team to victory.

“Honestly, when I was a kid, I used to watch the Indian team play and when they would lose, I would go to sleep thinking I could have won that match for my team,” said Kohli.

“If I am chasing 380, I never feel that it can’t be achieved. In 2011 in Hobart, we had to chase 340 in 40 overs to qualify. At the break I told (Suresh) Raina that we will approach this match as two 20 over games. 40 overs is a big duration. Let’s first play 20 and see how many runs are scored and then play another T20 game.”

Kohli also gave insight into his batting technique. The right-hander explained how he incorporated the back-and-across trigger movement into his batting.

“I changed because I wanted to hit all around the ground. The static position (in the stance) was making my options limited. My basic funda of batting is that if your hips are in perfect position then you can play any shot. Static position wasn’t working well for me,” he said.

“But it works for a lot of players. Like Sachin Tendulkar had a static stance all his life and he never had a problem. His technique was far superior with excellent hand eye coordination. For me I had to change it accordingly to suit my needs. I tried little, little things in my batting as you would never know if you don’t try.

“So, my advice is even if you try a lot in practice, do try out new things in one or two games to check if it works or not. Because if you execute it under pressure in match situations then you get a different kind of confidence. Practice prepares you but execution in match makes you confident. Key is to have an open mind when it comes to improvising. I hear a lot of players say this is my natural game and I play like this but if opposition figures you out, you have to improve and stay a step ahead. Learn, process information and execute.”

Kohli is known for his incredible work ethic but he said that the only set pattern he follows is when it comes to his diet and fitness.

“In case of batting if you are not in good form, you like to spend more time in the nets until one session which you will yourself know was a perfect net session,” he said.

“After that I don’t spend more than 10 minutes. Then I take throwdowns. Once you are in touch you shouldn’t overdo net sessions as you will create bad habits. Once you have a perfect net session you tend to think you can hit any shot. And in that process, the body shape goes awry and you would be frustrated. So all your work will go down the drain.

“Let me tell you, just like you know how much to train, you should also know when to get out of the nets because that’s also a skill. But it’s an individual thing. If you see Cheteshwar Pujara, he will bat for three hours. That’s fine because that method suits him. Having said that, everyone knows how to play cricket but sometimes we complicate it by thinking too much.”

Watch Virat Kohli’s chat with Tamim Iqbal here:


(With inputs from PTI)