Virat Kohli says India World Cup expectations are part of a winning process ahead of South Africa clash
Kohli plays down comments made by Kagiso Rabada ahead of World Cup game against South Africa
Last Updated: 05/06/19 10:32am
Virat Kohli insists he can shoulder the burden of expectation on him when India begin their ICC Cricket World Cup campaign on Wednesday.
Kohli, 30, is playing in his third World Cup and says that while he will feel butterflies before the clash with South Africa, those nerves will help drive him on.
"If you just say the words 'World Cup', it brings a different kind of feeling to your mind and heart," he said.
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"Eventually, you go and play the game of cricket and that excitement and anticipation and a bit of nerves is the right combination that I have always had before every game that I play. In 2011, 2015, I had similar kind of butterflies in the stomach.
"Even when you walk into play in a Test match and you walk in at 10-2 you have the same butterflies in the stomach, so that is a very consistent factor and when that starts going down, you know what comes next.
"I'm feeling excited, anticipation and a bit of nerves as well which is always good for any sportsman to have, so it's pretty similar to the past."
Kohli goes into this World Cup with 10,843 ODI runs to his name at an average of 59.57 - the highest of anyone with more than 40 innings.
But the current number one in the ICC ODI batting rankings says he is not interested in improving personal milestones so long as his team comes out on top.
"Look, when you perform and you perform for a long time expectations are always there and I sort of understood how to go along with the expectations rather than saying I'm not," he said. "You don't go out there to prove anything to anyone, which is a fact, but you have to accept that expectations are going to be there.
"When I walk out to bat, come down the stairs, people will say we need a hundred and all those kind of things will happen. So, for me, that's just a part of the process now.
"It's not something that I don't want to hear, or something that I think people should not tell me because when you do well, people obviously want to see you do well again and again because they want to see the team win.
"So my focus is again, if I'm in a position to be able to do that again, but more importantly make the team win, that will be my goal. And if it takes a hundred runs, 150, 50, 60, 70, 40, whatever it is, I'm ready to do that and that's the frame of mind I'm going to be in."
Kohli has pledged to treat Kagiso Rabada with respect after the South African bowler branded him "immature".
Rabada criticised Kohli as childish after a recent Indian Premier League on-field spat - but India's talisman captain refused to bite back, instead pledging to discuss the matter with the Proteas paceman personally.
"Well I've played against Kagiso many times, and if anything needs to be discussed we can discuss it man to man," said Kohli.
"Whether Ngidi plays or Steyn plays or not, Rabada is always going to be a world-class bowler and a threat to any side he plays against. On his day he can go through any team.
"In the past we have been able to handle it, but that's only because we've been respectful of his skills but also assured of our batting.
"You have to be respectful but have that self-belief in yourself as well. And that balance will be very crucial. We always need to respect that and find ways of scoring against him."
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