India's star batter Virat Kohli has admitted that not being able to make any substantial contribution to team India's cause for a long time was "eating him up" and he let the expectations overwhelm him a bit because he was desperate to score a big Test hundred.
Kohli hit a splendid 186 against Australia in the drawn fourth Test, ending a three-year wait to get his 28th Test century.
In a conversation with head coach Rahul Dravid, the 34-year old Kohli revealed that the weight of expectations became a bit tough to handle for him.
"Honestly, I've let the complications grow on me a bit because of my shortcomings," Kohli told Dravid in the chat, the video of which was posted by the BCCI on its website.
"The desperation to get to the three-figure mark is something that can grow on you as a batsman. I let that happen to me to a certain extent. But a flip side to it is, I'm not a guy who is happy with 40-45. I take a lot of pride in performing for the team.
"It's not like when Virat Kohli should stand out. When I'm batting on 40, I know I can get a 150. That was eating me up a lot.
"Why am I not able to get that big score for the team? Because I took pride in the fact that when the team needed me, I stood up, scoring in difficult conditions. The fact that I wasn't able to do that, was bothering me," he added.
Asked by Dravid how tough it was, Kohli said, "If I've to be brutally honest, it does become a little difficult as the moment you step out of the hotel room, right from the guy outside, to the guy in the lift, the bus driver everyone is saying 'we want a hundred'.
"So, it does play on your mind all the time but that's also the beauty of playing for so long to have these complications come up and overcome these challenges," Kohli said.
Kohli dished out an uncharacteristic 364-ball innings, spanning more than eight hours and 30 minutes. It was his 75th international century across formats.
Dravid said he was also desperate to see former skipper score that big hundred but it was worth in the end since Kohli delivered a master class.
"I've seen him as a player, seen a lot of hundreds of him on TV and after I took over the coach about 15-16 months ago, was a bit desperate to see him score a Test hundred and really enjoy it from the comfort of the dressing room.
"To be able to enjoy and relax a Test hundred. It was a beauty. You made me wait a long time but it was an absolute privilege to watch an innings and the way you constructed it," said Dravid.
Before this match, Kohli's last Test century had come in India's maiden Day/Night Test against Bangladesh in November 2019.
Kohli insisted that he never thinks "about the milestones".
"A lot of people ask me, 'how do you keep scoring those hundreds'. And I always say a hundred is something that happens along the way within my goal, which is to bat as long as possible for my team."
Kohli credited his fitness to be able to bat in different ways which help him excel in all formats.
"I can bat four sessions, I can bat five sessions, that's where the fitness and physical preparation comes into play for me.
"I go into the field relaxed because I know I can bat in many ways. I am not desperate if I play three sessions and feel like I am breaking down and I need to get fast runs otherwise I won't be able to stay out there for long," he said.
".....I am pretty happy scoring 30 runs in a session and not hitting a boundary and absolutely not be desperate because I know that boundaries will come and even if I have to play like this I can bat six sessions and get a 150. I have no issue doing that.