India will be hosting the 2023 ODI World Cup from October 5 to November 19. There is a lot of excitement in India ahead of the mega event. Speaking at a promotional event in Bengaluru, Kohli commented, “Any challenge in front of you, you look forward to it. When difficulty comes in front of you get excited. You don’t shy away from it. After 15 years I still like encounters, and the World Cup 2023 is one (challenge). It excites me, I need something new to, you know, propel me to another level.”
“The pressure is always there. The fans always say we want (the team) to win a cup very badly. I’d like to say not more than me. So, I’m in the right place. Honestly, I know the expectations are there and the emotions of the people are there. But please know that no one wants to win more than players,” he added.
While India have not won an ICC event since 2013, they won the World Cup in 2011 when it was played in India the last time. Kohli was still new to international cricket back then. He described the World Cup triumph as his career highlight and said, “My career highlight ïs obviously winning the World Cup in 2011. I was 23 at the time, and I probably didn’t understand the magnitude of it. But now at 34, and has played many World Cups, which we haven’t been able to win, So, I understand the emotions of all the senior players (in 2011).”
The 34-year-old added that the 2011 triumph was extra special since the team won it for Sachin Tendulkar, who was playing in his last World Cup. “He had already played many World Cups by then and to win it in Mumbai, his hometown, was very special for him. I mean, it was stuff from dreams,” Kohli recalled.
The star batter also admitted that he could feel the amount of pressure there was on the Indian team to win the World Cup at home in 2011, “I remember the amount of pressure there was on all the players when we were travelling, Thankfully, there was no social media back then. It would have been a nightmare, honestly. But through the airports, it was always just one thing - we need to win the Cup.
“The senior players were always under the pump and to handle all that pressure. It was just brilliant. And that night (after the WC win) in itself was something magical,” he concluded.
The Men in Blue will begin their World Cup campaign by taking on against Australia in Chennai on October 8.
--By A Cricket Correspondent