Virat Kohli, the former Indian cricket team skipper, has conquered numerous obstacles throughout his illustrious career. However, he recently revealed that the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023 presents him with an exciting new challenge, one that he eagerly anticipates even after fifteen years of top-flight cricket. The 13th edition of the quadrennial tournament is scheduled to be held in India during the months of October and November. Kohli expressed his enthusiasm for the challenge of playing a World Cup on home soil, emphasizing the unique thrill it brings.
Virat Kohli’s favourite moments of last Decade, the ones which are close to his heart:
2011 ICC ODI World Cup win.
2013 Champions Trophy win.
2018/19 Australian Test series win. pic.twitter.com/xSopiB66B9
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) December 28, 2020
“Any challenge in front of you, you look forward to it. When difficulty comes in front of you get excited. You don’t shy away from it. After 15 years I still like encounters, and the World Cup 2023 is one (such challenge). It excites me, I need something new to, you know, propel me to another level,” said Kohli during a promotional event.
Managing the Weight of Expectations
Kohli acknowledged the immense pressure of expectations on him and his team. However, he also emphasized that no one desires World Cup victory more than the players themselves.
“The pressure is always there. The fans always say we want (the team) to win a cup very badly. I’d like to say not more than me. So, I’m in the right place. Honestly, I know the expectations are there and the emotions of the people are there. But please know that no one wants to win more than players,” he said.
A Familiar Taste of World Cup Success
Although the pressure is mounting for Kohli, he is no stranger to World Cup triumph. He captained the Indian U-19 team to victory in the ICC U-19 World Cup in 2008 and was also a crucial part of the M.S. Dhoni-led India side that clinched the 2011 World Cup on home turf.
“My career highlight is obviously winning the World Cup in 2011. I was 23 at the time, and I probably didn’t understand the magnitude of it. But now at 34, and having played many World Cups, which we haven’t been able to win, I understand the emotions of all the senior players (in 2011).”
The Dreamlike 2011 World Cup Victory
Kohli fondly recollected the magic of the 2011 World Cup victory, especially for cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, as it was his final World Cup. The win in Mumbai, Tendulkar’s hometown, held immense significance.
“All the more for Sachin Tendulkar, as it was his last World Cup. He had already played many World Cups by then and to win it in Mumbai, his hometown, was very special for him. I mean, it was stuff from dreams,” said Kohli.
Navigating the Pressure in 2011
Kohli also reflected on the immense pressure that the players faced during the 2011 World Cup, particularly when traveling. He acknowledged that the absence of social media during that time was a blessing, considering the added pressure it would have brought.
“I remember the amount of pressure there was on all the players when we were traveling. Thankfully, there was no social media back then. It would have been a nightmare, honestly. But through the airports, it was always just one thing — we need to win the Cup,” he said.
“The senior players were always under the pump and to handle all that pressure. It was just brilliant. And that night (after the WC win) in itself was something magical,” he added.