Virat Kohli speaks about batting, bowling and his team ahead of Sri Lanka tour

Virat Kohli speaks about batting, bowling and his team ahead of Sri Lanka tour

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli speaks about batting, bowling and his team ahead of Sri Lanka tour. (© Getty Images)

Virat Kohli speaks about batting, bowling and his team ahead of Sri Lanka tour: Indian Test Skipper Virat Kohli got the India A v Australia A unofficial Test lot more attention than it would have otherwise grabbed by asking the selectors to pick him for the game. Kohli looked to it as his best chance to practice and check the level to which he was prepared for, before he leads the Indian team into the 3-match Test series in Sri Lanka.

Though he could not have a pressing impact in the game and only managed to take back something positive with the 45 in the 2nd innings after he fell cheaply for 16 in the 1st. India A which also has other big names was unimpressive and was beaten comprehensively by a better Australia A team by 10 wickets in Chennai.

Kohli hasn’t been the batsman he is known to be for most part of this year; his last hundred came back in February and has been getting in and getting out since then.

Will he change his approach, or game plan a bit to get back among the runs? Looking at the challenges the Test series in Sri Lanka will pose ahead of them, Kohli answered saying, “As a batsman I have always been responsible with the way I play my cricket and it comes from wanting to win the game for the team every time I play. So I don’t think I need to change too much in that aspect. I think that is one of the major reasons that the board thought that I could be the man to take up responsibility for the team,”

“It all boils down to how you play your cricket eventually and that’s the way I have always played my cricket, be it on the field, be it the way I bat, I always give my 100 per cent. Putting in that extra effort in batting I don’t think is required because I have always played in a responsible way for the team. And I will continue to that till the time I play for my country,” he asserted.

The Test series against Sri Lanka will be his 1st full-fledged assignment as the Test skipper, how does he look forward to it? “It’s basically my first full assignment as Test captain. In Bangladesh it was a one-odd Test match it wasn’t a full-fledged series. So it will be a new challenge for me and the whole team because we have such a young squad and so many new players looking to build their careers,” he said.

“It is an exciting challenge to start together as a new unit. It is exciting for me and as a team. Everyone is very happy and putting in all the effort required to do well in Test cricket. I am certain if we prepare well and have the right kind of vision, we will do really well in Sri Lanka. I am confident about the whole team and also hope that I am able to do the job given by BCCI,” he added.

How helpful was it to be under the watchful and seasoned eyes of Rahul Dravid the coach of the India A team? Kohli said, “It’s always nice to be around great players like Rahul Dravid, because just their presence is so calming and so reassuring and even if you don’t want to speak about the game, just having them around makes you feel good about your own cricket because just looking at them you can learn so much more,”

“I think being around him is always a good feeling. I have played lot of games with him as well. He is a very nice and genuine person. It is always nice to talk to him about the game and otherwise as well,” he added.

Why did he ask the selectors to pick him in the India A squad? Did he want to test himself ahead of the Sri Lankan assignment? Kohli said, “…I wanted some kind of momentum going into the Sri Lanka tour.”

“We have had a decent break, I have had three weeks off. I have had lots of time off the game, which was required to get mentally fresh and now with a week of training going into this India A game and a week or two of training after that as well, I think it will be the best preparation for me as far as preparing for the Sri Lanka tour is concerned, so that was the whole idea.”

Virat was full of praises for his boys, opener Murli Vijay and middle order batsman Ajinkya Rahane seem to enjoy utmost belief from their skipper. “He (Murali Vijay) has always been a very solid opener for India. Everyone has a few hiccups in his career, all of us out involved in that bracket and all of us have gone through it. The best thing about him is that he is mentally very strong. Has a lot of patience, a very solid character and is very sure of himself and of his game,” he said.

“In Test matches he has been a very solid opener for us, especially after the pair of Sehwag and Gambhir that we had, he is the one who has given us lot of stability at the top of the order,” he added.

“I really like Ajinkya (Rahane) as a batsman and as a fielder as well in the team. Really nice to have a guy who has so much energy and puts in 100 percent every time he steps on the field, every ball that he plays, every ball that he fields, he is always there for the team.

“He is willing to do anything for the team requires of him and he is one guy who I feel will be a very important factor as far as Team India doing well in Test cricket is concerned, because he brings that solidarity in the middle order, coming straight after me.”

Virat also said that senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who made a comeback in the Test team on the tour of Bangladesh after almost 2-years, will be a significant asset to the team in Sri Lanka. He said, “We have lot of experience with the spin department. (Ravichandran) Ashwin has been wonderful for us. Harbhajan Singh has been a match-winner for India in Test matches and one-day cricket. So it’s great to have his vision, his ideas and his confidence back into the team and Amit Mishra as well.

“He (Harbhajan) is bowling really well for the last one year or so and that is the reason why we wanted him in the team as well,” he said.

To beat Sri Lanka in their own den it will not only ask the Indian batsmen to do their job, but also their bowlers and more importantly the pacers. “I think not just the spinners but the fast bowlers will also play a massive role in Sri Lanka. I think with the ball reversing later on, the fast bowlers have been the ones who have come in and given those crucial breakthroughs for the Test match to be won,” he said.