India Vs Afghanistan ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: Virat Kohli Says It Will Be ‘Awkward’ To Play In Front Of Pavilion Named After Him, WATCH Virat Kohli in action against Australia in first game of World Cup 2023. (Photo: AP)

It will be homecoming of sorts for former India captain Virat Kohli when India take on Afghanistan in match No. 9 of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 on Wednesday. Kohli made an impressive start to the World Cup 2023 campaign, notching up 85 and putting on a record 165 runs for fourth wicket with KL Rahul to set up India’s six-wicket win over Australia in their opening game of the tournament in Chennai on Sunday.

In a video posted by BCCI on Monday, Kohli started to speak about his match-winning stand with KL Rahul before talking about the prospect of playing at a ground which has a pavilion named after him as well. The Arun Jaitley Stadium has a ‘Virat Kohli Pavilion’ named after the Delhi batter.

“For me, that is the stadium where I grew up playing age group, Ranji cricket. I also played for India there. Those memories stay fresh in your mind. You can feel it because that is where everything started, selectors saw you for the first time and gave you an opportunity. It is special to go back and play at Arun Jaitley Stadium. We used to practice in B grounds and watch Ranji teams practice in the main grounds. It is awkward for me to be playing in front of a pavillion named after me. I do not like to talk about it a lot. But it is a great honour and I feel happy and grateful about it, it is something I never felt would happen to me,” Virat Kohli said in the video.

Kohli spoke in detail about his vital 165-run partnership against Australia, enabling them to chase a 200-run target after an initial stumble to 2/3. He noted that it was ‘a bit more special’ than their 233-run partnership for the third wicket against Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023 last month.

“A highlight of our partnership was how content we were to knock the ball around and not necessarily look at our runs and balls, just fighting through the physical challenges of what we had experienced. Pressure also makes you more tense and gives you more fatigue. Just knocking the ball around, bringing down the total 10-15 runs at time, that for me I felt helped us build a big partnership,” Virat Kohli said.

KL Rahul said he was tired over the course of the partnership and had not expected to come out to bat so early. “Tired I would not lie. The only chat after 50-70 runs of the partnership was, let us conserve our energy, let us not run the twos. Once we hit it in the gaps, our instincts took over and we started running. It was nice to start the WC with a win,” Rahul said in the video.

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