New Delhi: India's limited-overs vice captain Virat Kohli on Tuesday answered wide-ranging questions posed to him by members of the media ahead of the team's opening Asia Cup game against Bangladesh in Mirpur.
Virat, who joined the team after a three-week break, will lead the Indian side if MS Dhoni does not recover in time for the Wednesday encounter.
Kohli has been in prolific form of late and will be India's most important player at the tournament.
Before the game however, he was asked about his views on the Bangladesh team, Pakistan's Mohammad Amir, MS Dhoni's fitness, his batting style in T20s and a host of other things.
Here are the ten most important things Kohli told the media on Tuesday.
On the importance of Asia Cup
Going into the World Cup as I said, the conditions are going to be similar and we will probably be playing all these oppositions at some stage. So, as many teams as we play before the World Cup, it gives us a great opportunity to assess what the teams are like, what the balance is like, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and where do we stand compared to them. You can see it (Asia Cup) as a whole package before the World Cup.
Asia Cup has always been a challenging tournament, it's like a mini event as far as the sub-continental teams are concerned. It's an opportunity to test yourself as I said against the best teams in the sub continent. It's a competitive tournament with different opposition with different set of skills testing you all the time.
On the match against Pakistan
I don't feel anything different playing Pakistan. It's the same game of cricket. I look at all oppositions with the same view. Matches against Pakistan are certainly competitive.
People may feel excited but for players it's the same as any other team.
On Mohammad Amir's return
I am happy to see Aamir back, it's good to see that he has realised his mistake, learnt from it and rectified himself.
I have always believed that he (Aamir) is a world class bowler and had he been around for the five years that he was banned, he would have certainly been a top three bowlers in the world. He has a lot of talent, has got pace, bounce a very good yorker," he said.
I wish him all the best. He has worked hard to make a comeback and it takes courage to do what he did.
On his batting in T20 cricket
The game plan in my initial days in T20 was to get 10 off 10 and then take off. But I realised that I don't have the kind of shots to hit big sixes. I have come to terms with the fact that I cannot hit big sixes so I focus on boundaries
Obviously a discussion will take place, it will happen sometime today during the practise session as to what needs to be done if that situation arises. Yeah, obviously, it's going to be different from what we have been playing with till now. We just have to wait and see how the situation pans out.
On Mustafizur Rahman
Mustafizur has done really well in the last one year. He spices up the game. It's important for the game to have bowlers, who come in and trouble the batsmen. It makes the game more competitive. As a batsmen also, it becomes more exciting because you think that you have to prepare differently for a bowler, who has brought something new.
On MS Dhoni's fitness
With Parthiv coming in, we will have to sit down and see if that situation comes where he has to play. We will then have to sort out a combination, the best possible for the team in terms of the batting order but, as of now, we cannot.
Unless we have a decision we cannot sit down and make a concrete plan. Obviously a discussion will take place, it will happen sometime today during the practise session as to what needs to be done if that situation arises. Yeah, obviously, it's going to be different from what we have been playing with till now. We just have to wait and see how the situation pans out
On MS Dhoni recent 'team in auto- pilot mode' remark
MS was spot on because I think it comes from the fact that we play a lot of T20 cricket. In IPL, we get so many games to play and execute our skills, so you keep getting better every season.
If you see the number of games being played by players in the IPL, the numbers are very high, so everyone knows what needs to be done and at what stage of the game in that tournament. I think even MS is not required to put in so much thought on what needs to be done because the players are experienced. That takes the load off. So that's why he said the team is in auto pilot mode. I think that's what he meant.
That everyone knows what needs to be done at what stage throughout the 20 overs, be it batting, bowling or in the field. I think it's a very good atmosphere the team is in right now. Everyone is very sure what needs to be done.
On the Asia Cup opener against Bangladesh
Every team is dangerous in T20. On a particular day, we are not looking at any team as major threat. We will take the challenge very similarly be it any team from around the world, that's the way we need to approach a tournament like the World Cup.
If you focus on two or three teams too much, then one tends to lose focus on the rest. Every game counts in this format. Things can change very quickly, momentum is a big factor. Both India and Bangladesh are very strong but we are not focusing on strengths of the opposition too much because we need to back our strengths than find out the weaknesses in the opposition to win matches."
On three-week break from the game post the Australia tour
It was a good break after a long time. I got time to get away from the game. Rest was important as I was playing non- stop cricket. Every cricketer's workload is assessed differently. If I play 5 games and if I don't make runs then my workload will not be that much compared to someone else.
So, taking all these things into consideration, the physio and everyone felt that I should take a break because in the Asia Cup and World T20, we have to play with full intensity.
It's an important phase, so it was good, little bit of training, rest, spending time at home, it was a good break all in all.
On infamous traffic snarls in Bangladesh
We are more concerned about the cricketing conditions than traffic. Wicket does play differently a lot of times, and dew can make it almost a one-sided game. As for traffic, I just go off to sleep while we are in the bus.