Ever since returning to the Test team after being dropped in 2011, Virat Kohli has been India’s most prolific batsman across all formats. What stands out in his yet flourishing Test career is that Virat has scored a Test century on all his three overseas tours so far – in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Now the ever hungry batsman is determined to conquer one of the toughest frontiers in Test cricket – England.
“England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand are the four places that the subcontinent players want to perform at and I too have it on my mind,” Virat said ahead of the first Test in Trent Bridge.
“I will be playing a Test at the Lord’s for the first time. All in all it is a very exciting tour for me personally. I have some goals that I want to achieve and I have been thinking about them. Hopefully things will fall into place.”
With Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat forms the backbone of this young Indian batting lineup. And he said the two are aware of what is expected off them.
“I think it is more important what we expect of ourselves,” Virat said. “Obviously people will expect things when you start performing, but you can’t focus on that. Because then, firstly you put pressure on yourself, and secondly you drift away from what you want to do. If you think of what you expect from yourself, you stick to your plan. We’d rather stick to that.
“Obviously we realise that we both have performed consistently in Test cricket. We want to keep on going like that. Cheteshwar has been brilliant for us at No. 3 and a really solid player. Gives us that feeling of calm. Him and me have got some good partnerships that have helped us get into stronger positions in Test matches. We both realise that, but we aren’t thinking too much into those things. You can’t plan for things unless you are batting in the middle and you are set. And then you can dictate terms. Once you get going you start to think about that big partnership that changes the course of the game.”
India’s current squad wears a totally new look compared to the one they brought to England in 2011, when they suffered a 0-4 whitewash. Virat believes it is time to put the three-year old disappointment behind and focus on the future.
“Three years down the line, we have a totally new side. It’s a very exciting time for us because most of us haven’t played Test cricket here. It’ll be exciting for us to experience the conditions and everyone’s eager to go out there and see what it’s like.
“We’ve heard a lot from senior players of how it’s one of the best places in the world to play Test cricket. You get full crowds, everyone’s involved in the game and everyone knows the game, so it’s an exciting time for us.
We don’t want to think about the negatives of 2011. Obviously, we’d like to do well in the series. It’s not about washing that  off, erasing those memories. That will stay in the history books, whether we like it or not. All we can focus on is the new series we have here, and put in a strong performance which would be a starting point for this young team to go ahead and be a good quality Test side.”
Shifting the focus to the opponents, Virat said the recent series loss to Sri Lanka doesn’t make England any easier as opposition.
“You might say that after losing to Sri Lanka they will be low on confidence but one way to get out of that situation is to come out and express yourselves without worrying about the results. We don’t know what they are thinking – they might come out all guns blazing or would still be pondering over the Sri Lanka series. You never know until the first ball of the Test match is bowled. As far as our team is concerned, we are very well prepared and we have very good ideas about how we want to execute things in the middle.”
He, however, felt that the hosts will miss the services of Graeme Swann. “He was one of the key bowlers for England because as a batsman you knew that even if you play the pacers off, there was a world class spinner waiting to bowl at you. His absence will be a key factor for England.”