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We want to win every game we play – Virat Kohli
After India's series sealing win inside 4 days at Eden Gardens which lifted them to no.1 in the ICC Test rankings, Indian skipper Virat Kohli laid out the team's thinking in the post-match news conference on Monday.
He reiterated the team's view towards the rankings which he had first made known when India had briefly occupied the no.1 slot in July/August after the win in the West Indies.
"I mentioned this before also, rankings are something that is just an incentive for what you do on the field. I didn't even know how many points difference we had to get to No 1. We just want to win every game we play, it's as simple as that,"
"It doesn't mean that we take the foot off the pedal in Indore. We don't drop intensity there, we don't drop our character, our vision to win a Test match for the country."
India have now won four successive Test series under Kohli and are currently unbeaten in 13 Tests, including 11 wins and two rain hit draws in Bangalore and Jamaica.
Team's only aim is to win matches, irrespective of where they are playing
"We have shown that over the past one-and-a-half years. So we don't go out there to prove anything to anyone. That we have a challenging win and we have to win because people are asking questions. We are doing our job, people are doing theirs. That's how the balance goes.
"It's basically what you want to entertain and what you don't want to entertain. As simple as that. But when we go on to the pitch we have control of what we can achieve. We understand our abilities.
"We have enough belief in our abilities to play good cricket anywhere. Not putting pressure of winning on challenging wickets, but believing in ourselves to execute our plans to the best of our abilities to execute."
If all of your players perform, there is nothing like it
"Obviously individual brilliance, one odd game, someone will get a magnificent hundred in the fourth innings and win you the game. You'll feel very happy but as a captain, I think this win is far more satisfying than individual brilliance winning you a game.
"You don't want to sit in the dressing room and see a couple of sad faces. If all of your players perform, there is nothing like it. When everyone contributes, it is a happy environment."
Kohli said India showed a lot of character to play well in tough conditions.
"This is a Test that players took as an opportunity to build character rather than pressure. The more we win Test matches like this the more we understand how Test cricket is played, how Test matches can be won. So we can keep repeating those things. It's all about feeding those things into your head and keep repeating it. That's what consistency is."
If we play cricket like this – you saw how engaged the Eden crowd was
"You have to interact with them, you have to make sure they are a part of the whole thing. It just creates an energy and you feed off on that.
"It happens so much in limited overs, so why not in Test cricket? A challenging situation in Test cricket is the most exciting thing a viewer can see, and for a player playing as well, to feel.
"It's our responsibility to keep Test cricket where it belongs, and if we play cricket like this – you saw how engaged the crowd was, they like to see exciting cricket, and we have to provide it.
"You can sense that energy which no other format can provide for you. We are just taking this as a privilege and a responsibility to keep doing what we can do, to the best of our abilities and hopefully get the right results every time – it won't happen every time we know. But at least we can try to win a game of cricket every time we step onto the field, that's all we think about."
Kohli gave the example of crowds in England and Australia "There if they get a couple of wickets, the crowd gets behind really loud and as a batsman, you understand that it creates a lot of pressure, you feel nervous."
"So I just try to think as a batsman, how I would feel walking in, the ball is reverse swinging and the crowd's going mad behind a bowler who is warm, who is willing to take a wicket. It makes a huge difference."
"We were able to pick up two, three wickets. The crowd also loves it, you engage them for the betterment of the team. A bowler who is tired... Shami would have bowled three overs but he fed off the energy and he bowled 12 more balls for the team, got another wicket."
Does this win set India up nicely to host England and Australia?
"I think that's a pretty emotional question, to be honest. Because we have a long season ahead at home. We don't play any Test cricket away from home till the end of next year. So for me to give you an answer to that is very difficult.
"As a cricketer, it doesn't make a difference if I'm playing in England or I'm playing in India, Australia or in South Africa. If you want to win, you want to win. If you don't have the mindset to win, you're not going to win anywhere even if you're playing in your own backyard.
"We want to perform consistently. We want to keep winning as a team. But for me to commit to it, it's too big a risk at this stage. We'll prepare well. We'll obviously look to give our best. And whatever happens, we take it like men and we move forward."
What's the best thing about winning in 4 days?
"I can tell you what I'm doing tomorrow. I'm not getting up at 6:30 am. There's no alarm ringing in my phone. That's all I know about tomorrow."