Sydney, Feb 1: It wasn't easy to start with but star Indian batsman Virat Kohli on Sunday said he is now in love with Australia for not just being a happy hunting ground for him but also for the respect and admiration he is getting from both the rival players and the initially hostile fans.
Kohli was adjudged Player of the Twenty20 series, which India swept 3-0 here today.
The flamboyant batsman, who scored 199 runs in the three games, remaining unbeaten all through, said being in Australia gives him sense of normalcy which is often hard to come given his star status in India.
"I love coming to this country, it has a really positive vibe. Most importantly, I can be myself here. I can be normal, I can walk around on the streets. That's something that I really love to do to discover myself rather than staying in a world which is sometimes full of highs and sometimes full of lows," Kohli told 'Star Sports' in a post-match interaction after India's seven-wicket win in the third game here on Sunday.
"Sometimes you need to get away from the game and realise who you are, know yourself and understand your mood. I get to do that in Australia, people appreciate the cricket that we have played," he added.
Kohli conceded his love affair with the country did not exactly start on a positive note. He had infamously shown his middle finger to a hostile crowd during the 2011-12 tour but things seem to have changed with the fans cheering him vociferously during the just-concluded series.
"They give you respect but they don't intrude in your private space. That's something that I adore about this country. It was tough early on when I came here. I have had confrontations but it has led to mutual respect," said the dashing right-hander.
Talking about his game, Kohli stated that he is focused on ensuring that his dot ball count remains as low as possible. "I have been hitting the ball decently on this tour.
In T20 cricket, one ball is an event and it is very important to capitalise on that. So, if you have a bunch of dot balls, it can turn the game around so I try and avoid those pressure situations. I make a conscious effort to keep the strike rotating," he said.
"I keep thinking about putting the bowler under pressure before he can get on top of me. After that, I can play to my strengths. I stick to the basics and improvise according to the situation," he said.
Kohli was all praise for comeback-man Yuvraj Singh, who played a crucial cameo today to get India over the line in a 198-run chase.
"Yuvi got very few balls but when it mattered he made it count. That's how we need him, we need him confident because then we are in safe hands," he said.