New Delhi - Virat Kohli is aware of his rather modest
batting record against England but the India captain is not putting himself
under any pressure against them in the five-Test series beginning at Rajkot on
Considered one of the premier batsmen of his generation,
Kohli averages close to 46 with the bat but it drops drastically to just 20
from 17 innings against the English bowlers.
In the five-Test series in England in 2014, he managed only
134 runs at an average of 13.4 with a highest score of 39. Of his 13 test
centuries, only one came against England at Nagpur in 2012.
"I can put it very simply as that was the phase when I
didn't perform too well and it happened to be England and could have been any
other country in the world," Kohli told reporters on Tuesday.
"It made me realise what I need to improve in my game
so I am pretty thankful to England for that. I have been a really improved
cricketer from then on.
"I just take it as a setback in my career, and not
motivate myself in a way that I have to prove people wrong or I have to do
something special against a particular opposition."
The right-hander's form in the five Tests would be crucial
for the hosts if they are to improve their record against England, who have won
the last three series against India.
The last time England toured India in 2012, Cook's side
suffered a thumping loss in the opening Test at Ahmedabad but then turned the
tables on the hosts to win the four-match series 2-1.
Since then, India have not lost a Test at home, blanking
Australia and West Indies, crushing South Africa and whitewashing New Zealand
In contrast, England are still smarting from their loss in
the second Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka where they shared the two-Test
series 1-1 with the Test minnows.
It prompted Cook to label his side as 'underdogs' against
India, currently the top Test team.
"I think some team might want to play it down at the
start of the series and then surprise the opponent but we are quite aware of
those things," Kohli said.
"At the same time we don't want to get too ahead of
ourselves. We understand what we need to do, so we are not going to get swayed
away or carried away by the praise or adulation."