I haven't changed, I’m still the same, grounded and focussed on my game: Virat Kohli

The last couple of months have been like a dream run for young Virat Kohli, who says it’s just the people’s perception that has changed towards him the recent times and that he is still the same old player. “I don’t feel any change in myself, but obviously when you start doing well for your country, when you start performing well for India things tend to change a bit. Still, I’d like to think that things haven't changed for me at all and that kind of keeps me grounded, keeps me focused on my game as well,” said Kohli according to a report in The Times Of India, adding that he knew Australia was one tour that could make or break me.

“It was always going to be tough on the mind, very challenging. You’ve got to be mentally prepared and obviously, you need to have game plans as well. But crucially, I think you need to have a lot of mental strength before going to Australia. While watching matches on TV when India toured Australia, I saw how intense the games were, and how strongly the crowd was behind the Australian team. It takes a lot of mental character for a player to do well in Australia, and I always had that in mind. I was prepared for that,” said Kohli, adding that he was pretty happy with the way things went in Australia.

According to a report in Indian Express, Kohli admitted that the Australia tour was a struggle at least initially, Virat said that the turnaround in his form came in the third Test at Perth, where he scored 44 & 75.  “My biggest problem was that I was reading everything that was being written about me. No one asked me to see what all was been written, I was going through all the papers on my own. Everyone was asking for me to be dropped, I was blocked mentally. Before Perth, I realised that there was no good reason for me not to do well; After all I had scored eight one day centuries. They were doing was playing with my ego. They would pitch the ball up outside the off stump and expect us to drive the ball. At Perth I decided that I simply won’t play a cover drive. I would make them bowl at me- let them attack the stumps. That made the difference,” said Kohli.

Sunil Gavaskar in his column in The Times Of India writes that the unforgettable innings that Virat Kohli played against arch rivals Pakistan in Asia Cupshowed how much he has developed as a player, by making light of the pressure and playing his natural game. “What was outstanding was that at no stage did he try anything out of the ordinary and played orthodox cricketing shots, and yet scored at more than a run a ball. There were no cute shots like the scoop or the reverse sweep and he played to his strengths, and did not look to discover other body parts, that did not exist in his batting. He had the company of the experienced Tendulkar to begin with, and with 'the master' matching him shot for shot the tension if any, just eased away. He then built another big partnership with the talented Rohit Sharma, and Suresh Raina then came for desserts and polished it off.”

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli was on Saturday unveiled in New Delhi as a new global ambassador for ICC’s partnership with Room to Read, an international not-for-profit organisation that aims to promote literacy and gender equality in education. He joins fellow leading international stars Shane Watson of Australia and Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews in promoting the partnership that was first launched at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.