"Even If It's a Turning Pitch, One Needs to Bowl Well':Kohli
Records, they say, are hard to come by; not when India cricketer Virat Kohli is in the scheme of things. After whitewashing New Zealand 3-0 in the Test series recently — where he slammed a double hundred (211) — he dismissed the allegation that pitches in India are made to suit the home team.
“Even before the series started, we knew people are going to talk about wickets. We knew that wickets are not going to be dry; especially when it rains, like what happened at Eden Gardens (Kolkata). But we didn’t complain because we have to play our best in any given condition,” said Kohli, who won his 10th Test as skipper in 17 outings.
He surpassed Sunil Gavaskar (nine wins in 47 matches) and MAK Pataudi (nine in 40).
Known to be a tough guy with a no-nonsense attitude, he reiterated that the team needed to believe in their dexterity and not be dependent on pitches. “We believe in our skills and not creating atmosphere or conditions that will suit us partially. And we finished two games in four days in perfect Test cricket wickets,” he added.
The skipper took a leaf out of New Zealand’s spin-dominated performance in the ICC World Twenty20 earlier this year in Nagpur to defend his case. “Even if it is a turning pitch, one needs to bowl well. When we lost to New Zealand in the World Cup game, suddenly people said their spinners had quality and we were exposed. I don’t see anyone talking about that anymore. The same spinners played in this series but they couldn’t pick up that many wickets,” added Kohli, who couldn’t tame the Kiwi bowlers in the first two Tests.
However, he found his form with a double ton, how did that happen?
“Every cricketer has a determination to do well whenever he goes out to bat. I have made hundreds but I never made big ones. I probably felt satisfied after milestones. This time, I wanted to play a long one. Our batting coach Sanjay Bangar helped me. There needs to be someone who would share your load and he has been doing that regularly. Many people question the role of support staff but they are of immense help,” revealed Kohli.
He is keen to continue the momentum in the forthcoming ODI series and highlighted the plus points of the three-match rubber in whites.
“Ravindra Jadeja and Wriddhiman Saha’s batting held the team whenever needed. We are trying to focus on such small contributions from players. People who do well will anyway be written about but these cricketers made a lot of difference,” said Kohli, congratulating the tourists for a brave fight upfront.
He underlined that it is never easy for a visiting side to compete against the home team that is playing quality cricket as a unit. “It is difficult to find areas to exploit. We kept the proceedings as tough as possible. The way they (New Zealand) go about their cricket is impressive. Like we learn whenever we tour their country, there is a lot for them to learn here,” he concluded.
India reclaimed the No 1 spot in Test rankings after beating New Zealand by 178 runs in the second Test. Saha’s unbeaten half-centuries (54* and 58*) won him the Man of the Match award