BIRMINGHAM – Virat Kohli is ready to trust in his own game as he looks to prove he can score runs in England.
The India captain is one of the leading batsmen in world cricket and the 29-year-old may well be an all-time great by the time his career is finished.
But while his overall Test batting record of 5,554 runs in 66 matches, including 21 hundreds, at an average of 53.40 is impressive, the same cannot be said of his returns in England.
His first tour of England, four years ago, yielded a meagre 134 runs from five Tests at an average of 13.4.
Now Kohli is the skipper of an India side who are top of the world Test rankings and eager to banish their reputation as poor performers outside the sub-continent by winning a five-Test series that starts at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
And Kohli believes the best way for him to succeed in England this time around is to pay no attention to the multitude of pundits analysing his performance.
“Back in the day, when I did not know better, these things used to bother me - because I used to read a lot,” Kohli told reporters in Birmingham on Tuesday. “But honestly... I genuinely don't read anything... I have no idea what's going on.
“If I waste my energy on all these things, I'm compromising on my mindset already - because when I walk out to bat, I have the bat in hand, not people who sit on the outside who write and predict things.”
How Kohli, and indeed India's top-order as a whole, combat the threat posed by James Anderson, England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker, could have a key bearing on the series.
Anderson took 25 wickets when England beat India 3-1 in 2014 and dismissed Kohli four times.
“It's pretty simple,” said Kohli. “You follow your instinct; you have to have total confidence and belief in your own ability. That's something that gives you total clarity when you head out to bat.”
India have won just three Test series in England, the last in 2007, but Kohli believes his side are equipped to add to that tally.
“Our bowling attack has matured over the years,” he explained. “They've gained experience of playing all around the world and understanding conditions, pitches - and opposition batsmen as well.
“We have the skill sets, character and mental toughness required to compete and win in overseas conditions,” Kohli insisted.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)