PTI Photo by Atul Yadav
PTI Photo by Atul Yadav

New Delhi: His meticulous build-up plan was thrown haywire by injury but fit-again Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli today said missing the much-anticipated county stint before the tour of England has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

“In hindsight, when I look at it now, it’s the best thing that has happened for me. I wanted to go and experience as this is the place where we haven’t played so much as there’s a big gap of four years and you forget what conditions were when you played last time,” Kohli said in a press conference ahead of team’s departure for the UK tonight.

“I would have gone there feeling 90 per cent rather than 110 per cent that I feel right now. I would rather be like this as I needed to be fresh for the tour. Although not intended but this is the best thing to have happened,” he added.

His poor show during the last tour of England had come under intense scrutiny but Kohli feels that critics have “held on” to the 2014 tour for far “too long”. Kohli’s technical deficiency outside the off stump was exposed by James Anderson as he failed to get a single half-century in the five-Test series that India lost 1-3. Asked if he is a better batsman, Kohli did express his displeasure at the repeated reference to the 2014 tour.

“I think lot of people have held on to the last tour of England for too long. I think we have had the Champions Trophy (2017) in between and it wasn’t held in Bangladesh,” the sarcasm wasn’t lost on anyone.

That he doesn’t like the same question, again and again, was proved as he spoke about how he looks at a tour.

Asked about his targets this time, he said: “I was asked this on the last tour of England as well. I said I want to walk around and have coffee. So my thinking is different when I go on tour as I try to literally to enjoy the country.

“I know when I am in good zone I play well. I can’t think like other people that oh I need to do well. I know what I have to face out there in the middle,” the skipper gave a pointed reply.

The skipper made it clear that he is available for the first T20 against Ireland in Dublin on June 27.

“I am hundred per cent ready to go. The neck is fine now. I have had six to seven sessions in Mumbai. I have had good practice and I am absolutely ready to go.

“I went through a fitness test as well so body is feeling fine. Actually, I am ready to get back to the field which is a very rare thing when you play so much cricket. This kind of break makes you excited to go back to field again,” he added.

He reacted sharply when asked about what the team strategy will be.

“Strategy will remain the same that it was in all the previous series. The strategy never changes from series to series. It only happens with those who don’t have patience. If we start thinking like you people then it will be a problem,” he stated.

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