Kohli says he is a changed cricketer now

Saumojyoti S Choudhury

Bangalore, Feb 12 (PTI) Virat Kohli, who is expected toplay a vital role in India''s middle-order in the upcomingWorld Cup, said after realising his importance in the team hehas become a more matured batsman and is confident of his goodshowing in the ICC''s showpiece event, starting February 19.

The 22-year-old Delhi lad said he has worked a lot on themental aspect of the game and is more focused now as comparedto when he first came into limelight in the 2008 Under-19World Cup in Malaysia, where he lead India to the title.

"I have made a few changes in my game in the recent past.

I am just trying not to commit unnecessary mistakes, learnfrom my mistakes. I am trying to use most of the opportunitythat is coming my way. I am focusing on applying myself andplay long and controlled innings, avoid playing rash shots andwork on mistakes," Kohli said during an open media sessionhere.

"When I got out playing a rash shot in the past peopletold me you could have played a better shot and you will learnwith time. I learnt how to be mentally tough, not to be boggeddown by the opposition. I feel much more focused. I amconfident of my abilities," he added.

The right-handed batsman also said the re-invented calmand focused attitude on the field has brought about changes inhim as a person.

"If you bring changes to your cricket it reflects on yourindividuality."

The cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) brought about alot of instant fame and money for the young Indian cricketersand Kohli said it is important to remain grounded and in thesurroundings of senior pros, who have already tasted the same.

"It is important to remain focused. The moment you startto think I have had enough practice and I don''t need any moreyou will be lost. It is important to be eager to practiceevery day and be involved with the game. Be there with thepeople who has been there for long and have handled thissituation before," he said.

With the World Cup being held in the sub-continent,expectations are high on the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side tobreak the 28-year-old title jinx and Kohli said he is feelingpressure of expectations of millions of cricket-loving Indianfans.

"I was feeling lot of pressure before the camp startedbut after arriving in Bangalore I am more relaxed. I am justfocusing on my training. Just being around the team andteammates calmed me down," he said. .

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