IND vs SL: No risk, no fun for Virat Kohli ahead of Nagpur Test
Skipper Kohli happy to cash in on challenges like he did in Kolkata where India almost won the game. On another note, expresses anguish over cramped scheduling before today’s Nagpur Test
After chasing the Kolkata Test for the first four days, a remarkable turn-around was scripted by Virat Kohli's 18th Test ton before the bowlers nearly clinched an improbable win in fading light. India were pegged back early on Day Five as they lost three quick wickets within the first hour, stoking the possibility of a collapse and a Sri Lanka win. Except, Kohli took the game by the scruff of the neck and turned it in his side's favour with an outstanding hundred. His approach to attack Sri Lanka at that stage was fraught with risk, but ask Kohli and he'll tell you that it's all in the mind.
India's captain Virat Kohli at a press conference ahead of today's Nagpur Test against Sri Lanka. Pic/PTI
'No safe game'
"I looked at it as an opportunity. At international level, you need to take risks. There is no safe game at the international level," Kohli told reporters here ahead of today's second Test against Sri Lanka at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium. "You need an element of risk at all times. Depends on the magnitude of the risk depending on the situation that you are in. I was pretty comfortable taking risk. I knew I was thinking of the other side, not the negative side. What if it comes off? I was not thinking what if it doesn't come off. Thinking matters a lot in such situations, and whatever you think, as they say, you end up achieving that. I back myself to do it and luckily it came off." Meanwhile, Kohli affirmed that there were special instructions from the team management asking for sprightly pitches, to help India prepare well for the tour of South Africa. He attributed this to the cramped schedule that leaves the team undercooked on tours.
Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri in the team bus. Pic/PTI
The uncharacteristically seam-friendly surface in Kolkata saw all 17 Sri Lankan wickets fall to the trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav. Spin duo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were negated to the extent that they bowled a combined total of 10 wicket-less overs in the match. "Yes, because unfortunately we get only two days before we fly to South Africa after this series gets over. So we have no choice but be in game situation and think of what's coming ahead of us," said Kohli. "Had we got a month off ideally, we would have done a proper preparation in a camp sort of scenario but we have to sort of make do with what we have. As usual cramped for time, which I think we needed to assess in future as well because we very easily assess the team when go abroad but we don't look at how many days we have got to prepare before we go to a particular place to play."
Conversation about pitches is invariably followed by one about team composition. While India have had the luxury of playing both their spinners, who double up as all-rounders at home, the scenario is likely to change overseas, where one of Ashwin or Jadeja might have to miss out. "I can't commit to that 100 per cent when we play abroad that we will be playing with two spinners. Obviously, those two guys with their batting abilities are both contenders to start a Test match depending upon the batsmen we are up against in the opposition," he said. When you play on tracks which don't turn and bounce, it's very important to understand if the left-arm spinner is bowling to five right-handers or the off-spinner is bowling to four left-handers. Those are very minor factors that you assess before picking the first spinner in overseas conditions," the skipper added.
Also View Photos: Bowled And Beautiful: Cricketers And Their Pretty Wives And Girlfriends
IND vs SL: Virat Kohli credits batsmen for second successive win