CHENNAI (Reuters) - Virat Kohli’s grand dream is to raise one of cricket’s all-time best teams who would succeed irrespective of conditions and across formats, the 28-year-old said on Thursday.
Under Kohli, India have been unbeaten in the last 17 tests, clocking up series wins in Sri Lanka and West Indies, and thumping South Africa, New Zealand and England at home.
Their unassailable 3-0 lead in the ongoing five-test series against England is another indication of their formidable home form but Kohli would not call his team “invincible”.
“We don’t feel invincible,” the batsman, whose stellar form has been key to India’s rise to the top test rankings, said on the eve of the fifth and final test against England.
“We respect all opposition. We admit every time we are put under pressure by opposition. We appreciate that, we accept that and try to find a way out of it.”
“We understand we got a lot of cricket to play everywhere in the world. It’s not about just one period that we are going through,” he said.
”It’s an ongoing process which needs to be sustained for the next five to seven-eight years for us to become a top quality side, to leave a mark on world cricket, to be known as one of the best teams to have assembled on the field.
“And we want to do it across formats.”
Kohli knows the hard work it takes to reach the pinnacle of the game and is enthused by the response from his young team.
“Guys have become really professional, the way they prepare and the way they work on their fitness. It makes the job easier with every game, every series you play,” Kohli, the number two batsman in both test and one-day rankings in the world, said.
Kohli said he was open to a brief county cricket stint ahead of India’s tour of England in 2018 in order to do well in the region where his batting records are below-par.
The Indian is part of a club of elite contemporary batsmen that also include Englishman Joe Root, Australian duo of Steve Smith and David Warner and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson.
Kohli said he had “moved away” from rankings but it maybe a good debate for the game.
“I’ve seen people enjoy that and they mention it to me as well -- that you four-five players are exciting to watch, that sort of thing. You feel good that you are in a bunch of batsmen who are taking world cricket forward,” he said.
”All these players are world class. I always rated each of them higher than me in test cricket specially...
”My aim has never been to go above Joe, or Steve or Kane. I respect them equally as opponents. There’s equal amount of respect among all of us, David included.
“I really admire the way all these guys play and I think it’s a healthy competition which people love to talk about and it should go on for a few years.”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Sudipto Ganguly