NEW DELHI: India captain Virat Kohli is someone who lets his willow do the talking against any opponent around the world. Among all his rivalries, his battle with West Indies bowler Kesrick Williams is the latest one. It all started in 2017 during India’s tour of West Indies when Williams dismissed Kohli in an T20I match in Kingston and celebrated the Indian skipper’s departure with a “notebook celebration”.
Kohli had to go back to the pavilion that time, but he is not someone who will let an opponen
t have the last laugh. During a T20I match between India and West Indies in Hyderabad in 2019, Kohli was at the crease and Kesrick bowling to him.
The Indian captain hit back in his own style. Kohli launched Williams for a huge six and then imitated the West Indies’ bowler’s typical “notebook celebration”. Kesrick was surprised to see the way Kohli remembered something that happened two years ago.
In an exclusive interview with Timesofindia.com from the Caribbean, Kesrick opened up on his rivalry with the Indian run-machine Kohli and he is confident that the next time when the two meet on the cricket field, both players will be pumped up.
“Is Kohli watching it? (the interview) I really don’t plan these things (laughs). I go off energy and I go off the mood. According to the mood, it brings out the celebration. I don’t really plan the celebration. People think that I sit in my room and I plan celebrations. I don’t. I like comedy movies. I watch a lot of those. So, it comes naturally to do something when I get a wicket and it ends up to be so much fun. That’s how I am. I love to enjoy my cricket,” Kesrick told Timesofindia.com.
“On the day, if I get a wicket, it just happens naturally. So, I do not know what I will do next when I ever dismiss Kohli next. One thing I will do next for sure is next time if I will play Kohli, it will be a battle. As soon as he sees me, he is going to be pumped (up). I am going to be pumped (up) as well. Let’s see how it goes next time when we meet,” he said.
KESRICK’S BIG INDIAN VICTIMS – KOHLI, ROHIT AND DHONI
The 30-year-old Kesrick, who has played 8 ODIs and 25 T20Is in his career so far, has dismissed Kohli twice in his T20I career and also has the big wickets of Rohit and Dhoni to his name.
“As you know T20 is a batter’s game. My job is to restrict a batsman. Most of the time, I bowl the middle overs or death overs. So, I have one job and my goal is to restrict a batsman from scoring. In the game against Kohli, I realise he really took me out. I was like yo…this is never gonna happen again. What I try to do is that I try to be aware of the situation. I try to think ahead of the batters and what would be their next shot. I study them a lot,” he said.
KOHLI VS ROHIT – KESRICK’S TAKE
Kesrick has played against both Rohit and Kohli and his tally of wickets includes both the star Indian batsmen.
On being asked who is more talented when it comes to technique and handling pressure, Kesrick said: “If Virat comes out and he decides to beat you today, he will beat you. He is a guy who sets up the game. If he decides he has to score a hundred today, he is going to play cricket like anything. If he decides he has to bat till the end, he will bat till the end.”
“Both Rohit and Virat are really really talented players. Rohit Sharma is more of a shotgun. He decides I am going to beat you, that’s it. On the other hand, Kohli decides I am going to beat you but I am going to beat you smartly. He is relaxed and works the ball around,” Kesrick told TimesofIndia.com.
DHONI’S RIGHTFUL SUCCESSOR – KL RAHUL OR RISHABH PANT? – KESRICK’S TAKE
Who is Mahendra Singh Dhoni‘s rightful successor in limited-overs cricket? After Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s sudden retirement from international cricket, the debate has begun again.
Kesrick suggests the wicketkeeping roles should be shared among the contenders.
“KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant are really really talented. KL is more of a stylish player. I love to see KL. He is probably one of the (most) stylish players in the Indian team. I still remember this guy played a shot off me in the last T20, I was like – ‘oh damn good shot’. It was a proper good shot and the way he plays, everything is clean and pretty. Rishabh Pant has more of a beast inside him,” he said.
“If they probably share the role and share the keeping may be in Test cricket or in ODI cricket but it is all in the selectors’ hands in India. It is hard to say. It is their decision that – I am going to pick KL or I am gonna pick Pant to keep,” the 30-year-old said.
ST LUCIA ZOUKS’ TITLE CHANCES
Kesrick is representing St Lucia Zouks in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League in the West Indies. With 5 wins and 2 defeats in 7 matches, St Lucia Zouks are at No. 2 spot in the points table. Kesrick has claimed 10 wickets in the tournament so far.
“It’s a very good chance for St Lucia Zouks (to win the title) this year. I like how the guys are playing. Everyone is on the same page and eyeing playoffs. We don’t have superstars in the team that we usually have every year. We have impact players in the team who can come, do their job and go. Everyone is looking towards one goal. We are gelling together well. I think our chance of winning the title is very good,” Kesrick further told TimesofIndia.com.
“On any given day, our players can change the game on its head. For example, Rahkeem Cornwall can change the game on its head. Andre Fletcher as well. We call him a new boy. But he is not much of a new boy. Roston Chase, Mohammad Nabi and myself who can change the game at any point of time. Scott Kuggeleijn is an amazing bowler in the team. We have a lot of impact players in the team,” Kesrick signed off.