India not worried about home or away, winning the sole target: Virat Kohli
India’s world No 1 ranked Test team are no longer bothered about conditions, but are only focused on winning, says skipper Virat Kohli after clinching series in Sri Lanka.Updated: Aug 06, 2017, 19:28 IST
The Test series has been as predictable as it can get. India were expected to dominate and Sri Lanka’s below par showing has ensured the contestants have stuck to the script.
On the verge of a rare whitewash in an away series, it’s another performance which will help India build the aura of a champion side. However, to acquire the tag of an all-conquering side, they will have to wait till they beat Australia, England and South Africa in their home conditions, although Virat Kohli’s side has done enough to deserve the world No 1 ranking.
Oozing with confidence after leading his team to an innings win in the second Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground, Virat Kohli said for India it was no longer about home or away. They simply want to win every game.
“Well, it’s obviously nice to win this series again. We won this last time also, in 2015. Yes, we do have that chance (of completing a whitewash). But honestly speaking, we are not looking at Test matches or Test cricket now as home and away anymore. We are just looking at them as Test matches and we want to win anywhere we play.
“If we can believe in our abilities, then we are not really bothered about where we are playing. That kind of energy I can sense in the team; and the team believes that as well. You know, we have to only look to win Tests, on whatever pitch or in whatever conditions. We are creating a habit of winning, that I think can be carried on in future as well,” added Kohli.
“From the numbers point of view and from stats point of view, these things look great, but for us as a team, it’s all about achieving those small little goals every time we go out to play a Test.”
Even though the new appointments in the team’s coaching staff have been with the cycle of the 2019 World Cup, the Indian captain declared Test cricket was his priority. “Test cricket is the most important thing for us. We really feel good as a team that we’re able to win consistently right now, but we realise it’s very important to keep carrying on the same way as well.”
While it can be pointed out India have got the results at home or playing in similar conditions (in the West Indies and Sri Lanka), it has been impressive how they have overcome situations when challenged by the opposition. An example was Sri Lanka’s batting in the second innings on Sunday at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground. Dimuth Karunaratne anchored the innings and at lunch time had brought his team within 137 runs of making India bat again.
Piling the pressure
Kohli and Co didn’t panic and stuck to their plan, creating pressure with the second new ball, which paid dividends. From 310 for four, the hosts crashed to 386 all out.
“It (wicket) was getting slower and that’s why we took the new ball straightaway (in 81st over) as well. We thought with the harder new ball, one might keep straight as well because the older ball was soft and all balls were turning, so it was very difficult to get edges and create chances. The bowlers are in the game as well when there is more pace because of the harder ball. Today, again we spoke about getting those couple of chances and then we can get 4-5 in a session, which ended up happening in the second session.
“We managed to turn things around and you always feel good as a team when you come back from a difficult situation and win the Test.”
There was some debate over enforcing the follow-on. While admitting it was risky to be left chasing in the fourth innings, Kohli said with a lead of 439 and a helpful track, they had no hesitation in putting Sri Lanka in again.
“A lead of 440, and looking at the wicket the way it was spinning, not to bat again. And we had only bowled 40 or 48 overs in the first innings. So, the bowlers were fresh and we got the lunch break in between as well, which is 40 minutes. So, all those things taken into consideration, we ended up enforcing the follow on.”