Positive Kohli hopes of trumping Australia22 November,2014
Mumbai: Virat Kohli is set to lead the Indian Test side for the first time in his career when India play their first Test against Australia at Brisbane and he is confident of beating the hosts with an aggressive approach and a positive mindset. The Indian team will be in Australia for a four-Test series that will be followed by a tri-series also involving England.
India's last overseas tour - in England - turned out to be a forgettable one as they lost the Test series 1-3 but Kohli believes that the current side has what it takes to excel in Australia. "It has to be caution with aggression. First priority is to be positive and aggressive and then we dictate terms when we can. The intent has to be positive and aggressive. We obviously will have plan Bs and Cs to fall back on," Kohli said during a media interaction in Mumbai on Friday before the team departs for Australia on Saturday.
"You have to keep thinking about winning all the time. We have good chances of beating them at home which we have done in the past. There is no reason why we can't repeat that," he added.
That the tour of Australia is happening right before the World Cup next year, presents an excellent opportunity for the Indian team to acclimatise with the conditions. While the 26-year-old is not thinking too much ahead, he acknowledges that the opportunity will surely help them. "The first focus is on the Test series and we will think about the World Cup after the tri-series. It will be a blessing before the World Cup to be playing in Australia. We are not going to be surprised by the tracks over there, which is going to be good for us," he said.
On being asked whether a negative result in Australia will have an adverse effect on India's World Cup preparations, Kohli said, "That's a big if. We have not really thought about that 'if'. We are only thinking of the positive side. When the worst case scenario comes, we will plan it then. I think everyone is good to do that. We don't even want that thought to creep into the side right now. That's our job, to keep the negativity away.
"No matter what the results are, even if you are not doing well, as long as you can look into the eye of the opposition and make him feel you are there. And when the opportunity comes, you are going to strike. That's the kind of belief which is needed in the team. This sort of negativity is not welcome in the team," he said.
This will be Kohli's second tour of Australia after his maiden tour in 2012 when he accumulated 300 runs in four games including a century. He will now mark his return standing in for MS Dhoni in the first Test in Brisbane and Kohli says that he will try to use his experience to help others.
"For me personally, the last tour was a milestone in my career. I was a different person and a different cricketer when I left the shore of Australia in 2012," he said. "The last tour to Australia, I never experienced the aggression and that kind of atmosphere. I will try to impart that experience to other players, of what to expect and what sort of mindset to go with. Once we go with a negative mindset that will keep catching up. You have to be positive every single day. That is something we will focus on going in this tour."
The Indian squad for the tour boasts of fast bowlers who can bowl over 140 kmph and Kohli reckons it will prove to be a big advantage and help them control the game in pace-friendly conditions. "Any day, it's an advantage when you have four bowlers who can bowl 140+ because you can compete on those pitches and strategise accordingly. For a captain that is a blessing because you have two bowlers upfront, one who can swing the ball and one who is bowling 140 and then you have two more coming in who can also bowl at 140+ for those other two spells.
"So, the batsman is never sure about going after the bowlers and that's exactly what you want - control the game as much as you want. And that will be possible with guys bowling at speed and getting bounce on those wickets, it's a great thing for Indian cricket. It's going to be a massive factor in Australia," he said.
The Mudgal committee report has created quite a stir in the Indian cricketing circle but Kohli is unfazed and refused to offer any comment on the recent off-field developments. "Our focus has been on cricket throughout and we have not really focused on things that have been happening off the field. Anything regarding those things, the management will have a quote or an explanation.
"I would like to talk about cricket only and I can assure you the focus has been on cricket and what we want to achieve in the next six months. We have not been distracted by any off the field issues," he said.
"We have to figure out the best combination for the Test series. Test series is all about sticking to a particular combination and giving them confidence and not let them feel there are guys sitting out to replace them. We can't go with a mindset that we will go there and see what happens," he said.
Regular skipper Dhoni will be missing the two warm-up matches and the first Test. However, team director Ravi Shastri has backed Kohli saying the team has self-belief. "MS has hardly missed a match in the last so many years. He has played every format for the last so many years, so it's only fair that he gives himself time to be fully fit and come back. You have to go with what you have.
"Virat is leading the side and it might be his first Test as captain but I can assure you, you will see a guy who you feel has led in 20 to 25 Test matches. We will be out there putting our best foot forward. It's a great opportunity for youngsters where if you have self-belief and back yourself that you will do well, you come out as a different cricket altogether."