When Virat Kohli took over Test captaincy from M. S. Dhoni, it was at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2015. The series was already lost, only pride remained to be salvaged.

Now he returns to the same venue with India having a wonderful chance to win a Test series in Australia for the first time. The wheel has come a full circle.


Looking calm and relaxed, Kohli said here, on Wednesday, that the thought of a series win was not putting pressure on him. “What is going to come is not something you need to think about. We need to stay in the present and focus on the things we can do. The controllables, we need to figure out what they are. We will play with full intensity and effort.”

The Indian captain said, “If the series win happens, it’s great because I have come here the third time on a Test tour and I know how difficult it is to win here.”

Full of energy

He said since the team was already motivated, there was nothing for him to tell his players. “There is nothing to be said at all because you sense energy in the change room, the guys just want to step out on the field. Everyone is very, very focussed.”

On the pitch here, Kohli said, “On this ground, from what we have seen in the past, the pitch is good for batting for the first two or three days and after that reverse-swing and spin come into play.”


According to Virat Kohli, R. Ashwin (in picture) has been spoken to by the physio and trainer to tell him what was required from him to get over injury concerns. Photo: AP


Dwelling on his obsession to win abroad, Kohli said, “The reason I said it has to be an obsession to win away from home is because you cannot afford to be negative even for a single minute, a single day on tour. You need to be that convinced about your ability to come up with a match-winning performance.”

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Asked about R. Ashwin’s constant fitness issues, Kohli replied, “The physio and the trainer have spoken to him in terms of what’s required [from him] in order to get over the injury concerns. He is a vital part of this Test team and we want him to be 100 per cent fit and for a longer period. In his absence, [Hanuma] Vihari has bowled beautifully.”

‘Disc issues’

Queried how he was coping with his back injury, Kohli said, “On my personal fitness concern, I’ve had disc issues since 2011, it’s nothing new. I’ve been able to manage it because of the physical effort I have put in over the last few years. When you have a back which has disc issues you can only maintain it. That’s why I’m not too bothered by it.”