Virat Kohli says overseas success will make his smile broader

Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper, has said that the real challenge for the team begins now after winning 10 out of the 13 Tests played at home.
India's captain Virat Kohli gestures as the team poses with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and the Test mace after winning the fou-match Test series against Australia in Dharmsala on Tuesday.(AP)
India's captain Virat Kohli gestures as the team poses with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and the Test mace after winning the fou-match Test series against Australia in Dharmsala on Tuesday.(AP)
Updated on Mar 28, 2017 05:01 PM IST
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Dharamsala | By

Virat Kohli has praised the efforts of the Indian squad for the team’s dominant showing at home. In 13 Tests, they won 10 and lost only one as they brushed aside New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia. The 2-1 series win against Australia meant that Kohli’s team now had series wins against all Test teams at the same time. (DAY 4 BLOG)

Arriving for the post-match press conference, Kohli was not over-excited by the magnitude of the achievement. Instead, the Indian skipper, who missed this match due to a shoulder injury, has said the real challenge begins now for India. (DAY 4 SCORECARD)

“We are very happy with no.1 ranking in the world, but our main challenge begins now. If we can conquer the overseas season, that’s when you will see a broader smile on my face when I sit down for the press conferences,” he said.

India are scheduled to tour South Africa by the end of 2017 and it will be followed by tours to England and Australia. However, the major takeaway for Kohli in this dominant home season was that the exploits by a young team has given them plenty of optimism for the future.

“It was very important for a young side to perform consistently and build a team for the future. That we did it in this whole season was heartening. It was important how we responded to difficult situations and credit goes to everyone.”

Fast bowlers’ contribution magnificent

During the last couple of seasons, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have regularly run through the oppositions. While Ashwin picked up 82 wickets in the 2016/17 season, Jadeja managed 71 wickets. However, the performances of pacers have been noteworthy. Kohli said the way India’s pacers seized the momentum in the last couple of seasons on a consistent basis was outstanding.

“We have worked hard on the fitness levels of the guys over the past two years. When teams prepare only for your spinners and our fast bowlers come in and bowl those kind of spells, it can really shake the opposition and that’s exactly what these guys have been able to do. Getting us those important breakthroughs after partnerships was the key,” Kohli said.

Umesh Yadav is a lot smarter now

Umesh was the star during the Australia series with 17 wickets. He regularly troubled the Australian batsmen with pace and swing. This prompted many to compare Umesh’s efforts with Zaheer Khan. However, Kohli has said that Umesh’s change of mindset after 2014 was the key in his development.

“You can’t compare him to Zaheer because Zak did it for a longer period of time. But from 2014 to now, the only thing that has changed in Umesh is his mindset. He has understood his game and become smarter. He used to bowl 145kmph regularly, now he is touching 140kmph. He is very smart with what he wants to bowl in spells. That has been a really, really big difference in his game,” Kohli added.

The Indian skipper stated that giving Umesh the confidence of being the main strike bowler of the team helped him immensely. “When you say you are my strike bowler, they respond in that way. Then they are not thinking about getting hit for runs or any of that sort. Eighty percent of the credit is Umesh’s for the way he has executed his method.”

The efforts of the Indian team this season, with both bat and ball in different conditions, potentially gives India the momentum for tough overseas tours in the coming months.

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