Captain Kohli relying on his instincts to help India prosper

Virat Kohli will continue to shut out the commentary and trust his instincts and self-belief as he tries to make a success of his Test summer in England.

The India captain endured a miserable trip on his previous attempt in 2014, averaging a paltry 13.4 compared to his world-class career output of exactly 40 runs more per innings.

Back, in charge this time of the world’s No 1 team, he is determined to stick to the lessons he has learned over the years – to waste no energy reading what others think he should do, and instead make sure he is mentally ready to give his best.

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“Back in the day, when I did not know better, these things used to bother me – because I used to read a lot,” said the 29-year-old.

“But honestly... I genuinely don’t read anything... I have no idea what’s going on.

“If I waste my energy on all these things, I’m compromising on my mindset already – because when I walk out to bat, I have the bat in hand, not people who sit on the outside who write and predict things.”

Kohli’s rematch with England’s all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson is keenly-awaited, and will doubtless have a key impact on the five-match Specsavers series set to begin at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

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Asked about how he will approach that challenge, Kohli preferred to answer more generally – whichever bowler he is facing.

“It’s pretty simple,” he said.

“You follow your instinct; you have to have total confidence and belief in your own ability.

“That’s something that gives you total clarity when you head out to bat. I’m not saying that it happens every time – but the fact that we’re able to do it again and again is the reason we’re playing at this level.

“It’s something we need to keep working hard on and not take for granted... it boils down to belief.”

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The same, he believes, is true collectively – and he preaches to his team what he practises personally.

“We’re all in a good frame of mind, batsmen and bowlers are confident – we are all excited,” he said.

“This is a five-match series and not a two or three-match series – where if things go wrong in one match, desperation sinks in.

“In such a long series, you can be patient enough to turn things around. From that point of 
view, all of us are relaxed,” added Kohli.

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He is convinced too that India have the ability to win in England for the first time since 2007.

“Our bowling attack has matured over the years,” said Kohli.

“They’ve gained experience of playing all around the world and understanding conditions, pitches – and opposition batsmen as well.

“They have come a long way from the last time we toured all these countries.

“We are a more confident unit now.

“We have to the skill sets, character and mental toughness required to compete and win in overseas conditions.”