“It’s surreal, I never imagined playing 100 Tests for India”
At the 100th test stage
Honestly, I never thought I would play 100 Test matches. The trip was long. Played a lot of cricket in those 100 Test matches, a lot of international cricket. I’m just thankful I was able to hit 100. With the amount of cricket we play these days, God has been kind. I worked very hard on my physical condition. It’s a great moment for me, my family and my coach, who is happy and proud of this Test as far as I’m concerned.
I think my first try hundred is something I remember very well. It’s still very fresh in my memory. It’s a day that will always be very, very special. Knowing that he came to Australia will be very special. It was a hundred overseas, for a young man wanting to establish himself in Test cricket, because the first hundred to come to Australia really boosted my confidence. If you see, my career really took off from there after that test match and my confidence grew by leaps and bounds.
On the culture he established in Test cricket
The way people view test cricket played under me as an Indian team or just the way I played test cricket and how I thought and wanted to play test cricket it didn’t happen by chance. I have put in a lot of effort, I have made sure that the fundamental moral values of the game remain intact, i.e. wanting to play test cricket and wanting the purest form of the game to remain in life. For that, we had to play a certain way.
I gave my heart and soul to this format. It’s great to contribute to my environment and culture in more ways than just strategies and plans and trying to get the batsmen out and trying to maneuver the bowlers. If you have a greater impact on your environment, it’s a matter of pride and really something you feel blessed with because this opportunity rarely comes to people.
On his stint as India’s Test captain
I had the privilege and opportunity to create a culture that I believe I have established as a leader over the past few years. I did my job to the best of my abilities and fulfilled my responsibilities. I look back very proudly on this period. I played with some amazing teammates, some of the guys who shared that journey with me for most Test matches.
I clearly remember when I took over as test captain I had this vision for the team that we needed to play a certain type of cricket and we need to be a certain type of team in international cricket and we ended up doing it five years in a row. . So immensely proud. Just the atmosphere was something magical to be part of; you walked into the locker room and you felt like you could win anywhere and that feeling was so empowering.
You went to every tour without any baggage, without any nervousness, without any hesitation. It was just one chance after another and something that, when I sat in the locker room and looked around, made me feel like I was able to fulfill my responsibility.
From 2015 to 2020, those five to six years, the kind of Test cricket we played, each of those tours or those matches is a special memory in itself. We had some tough losses; we have had amazing feedback. Hugely proud of the whole phase. Looking at how amazing and magical the trip was, I can’t pinpoint a single memory. It would be a mistake on my part to point to a win (a series) in Australia or a 2-1 exit from England, which could potentially bring the trophy back with us. We understand these everyday moments that we experience, which is much more special than these things.
I love playing this game. I’m always passionate about winning games for my country. It was my main motivation when I started playing. I wanted to play for India and win games for my team. It was my only motivation. I continue to be in this phase. The chat around statistics and figures, his fantasy for people from the outside. I never really focused on those things. If I had, I wouldn’t have scored the number of points I’ve scored or hit milestones in the last 10-12 years. Your intention must be right and it continues to be in the same space and that is winning games for India.
By playing 100 tests for India
It’s surreal. I never imagined that I would play 100 Tests for India. There was a time when I remember thinking that I would do my best to play for India. Nothing could demotivate me or distract me. I was completely focused on getting to the top and playing for a long time. Things worked out in such a way that the journey continued.
Life is unpredictable in many ways and I don’t think we should put any restrictions on life in terms of how many amazing moments you can witness in the future. You have no idea what the future holds. It is better not to panic or be demotivated by what might not happen because my career, my life is an example of what is possible.
I heard that crowds were also allowed. It’s going to be a special, special morning. There will be butterflies, I won’t lie. There must be butterflies until the last game you play for India. They stayed for a long period of time and they stay that way.