‘It was my chance to step up and take responsibility’, says Kohli after scoring century

Port-of-Spain: India skipper Virat Kohli said it was his turn to step up and take responsibility after the fall of early wickets in the second ODI against the West Indies, which the visitors won riding on his 42nd hundred in the format.

The 30-year-old took command of the proceedings after the early fall of in-form openers Shikhar Dhawan (2) and Rohit Sharma (18) and smashed 120 off 125 balls.

“We knew that anything over 270 would be challenging. It feels good to get a hundred when the team wanted me to get one,” Kohli said after the win which gave the tourists a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

“Shikhar and Rohit didn’t get a big one. One of the top three has always got the big one. A senior man had to step up and it was my opportunity to step up. It was important to string in a lot of dot balls,” he added.

Kohli said it was a good toss to win as the wicket became difficult in the second innings. “Good outing with the bat. Exactly why we wanted to bat first. If you saw the latter half of the West Indies innings, it was difficult to bat on. I think the rain in between helped them else it would have been tough to bat in the middle,” he said. “The batting became a little easy thanks to the rain when (Shimron) Hetymer and (Nicholas) Pooran were batting together. It was tough gripping the ball when it went into the outfield. It was about staying in there and hoping one wicket will put pressure on them and luckily we got the wickets.”

Kohli said the number of left-handers in the West Indies team prompted him to play Kuldeep Yadav in place of Yuzvendra Chahal. “The number of left-handers works in favour of Kuldeep and that’s why we went in with him rather than Chahal. He is more lethal against the left-handers because of his variations and the lines that he bowls to them,” he said. “Kedar (Jadhav) was precise as well. With the number of left-handers, you want to go with a chinaman bowler rather than a leggie. With Jadeja playing, it helps our balance.”

The skipper lauded Shreyas Iyer, who made a crucial 71 on Sunday. “He (Iyer) is a very confident guy and has the right attitude. Really got the tempo going and took the pressure off me. After I got out, he got the extra runs as well,” Kohli said.

Kohli eclipses Ganguly

Skipper Virat Kohli has eclipsed former captain Sourav Ganguly to become the second-highest run-getter for India in one-day internationals. Kohli achieved the feat when he hit Jason Holder for a boundary in the 32nd over.

The 30-year-old, who had a relatively quiet World Cup in England, went on to score his 42nd ODI century, his first since March. His 125-ball 120 took his aggregate to 11,406 runs in 238 innings, surpassing Ganguly’s record of 11,363 runs in 311 ODIs.

“Virat Kohli another master class in one-day cricket @imVkohli @BCCI.. what a player,” Ganguly wrote on Twitter. Kohli is now only behind Sachin Tendulkar, who has scored 18,426 runs in his illustrious ODI career. Kohli is also seven hundred short of Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI hundreds. Overall, Kohli is in the eighth spot in the list of highest run-scorer in ODIs.

NT Bureau