India vs Australia: Rahane will do a tremendous job in my absence, says Virat Kohli

Ahead of the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, India captain Virat Kohli believes that it is important to stay in the present and focus on the job.

Published : Dec 16, 2020 11:39 IST , Kolkata

India skipper Virat Kohli will aim to start the tour on a winning note. (File Photo)
India skipper Virat Kohli will aim to start the tour on a winning note. (File Photo)

India skipper Virat Kohli will aim to start the tour on a winning note. (File Photo)

As India gears up for the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which begins in Adelaide on Thursday, India captain Virat Kohli believes it is important to stay in the present and focus on the job.

The last time India toured Down Under, it created history by clinching the Test series for the first time ever, and as another series beckons, Kohli is confident of India's chances. With the series starting with a day-night Test, there will be challenges for sure, but Kohli feels there has been enough preparation time for his boys.

"I like to keep things simple. I do not quite carry forward anything from the past. It is very important to stay in the present and understand the process you are going through. Last time around, our challenge was different. Starting in Adelaide, we had a goal, which we wanted to achieve - we wanted to win, so it was important to start well. The goal remains similar this time as well," Kohli said on Wednesday.


Talking about the nuances of a pink-ball game, Kohli said: "Pink-ball Test is probably going to be a bit more challenging in terms of conditions and how the ball moves around in the evening and stuff like that. For us as a team, it is about adaptability. Probably, the focus will be to understand the situations we are presented with and counter that as best as possible with our abilities. Every challenge is new and different and you have to understand the difficulties and requirement to fulfill that particular challenge and hopefully, make sure you come out on top," he said.

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Kohli will be leaving for India after the first Test, and Ajinkya Rahane is set to take charge in his absence. And he is confident that Rahane will do a fine job as the leader. "We have had a lot of mutual understanding over the years. We have had some great partnerships batting together, which is based on trust. Jinks has done a tremendous job in the two practice games. He seems to be very composed and he knows the strengths of our teams and how we need to go about it. The way we have played the game has been a collective effort. It's a cultural effort and not just me strategising things and putting things in front of people, it's the whole team that's involved," Kohli said.

"We already know the template we play with and how we are to go ahead. We are absolutely on the same page and I am sure he (Rahane) will do a tremendous job in my absence. The focus remains, till the time I am here, to be able to provide captaincy and leadership and performances to the best of my abilities," Kohli continued.

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This will be India's second appearance in a pink-ball Test, having played one against Bangladesh in Kolkata last year. Talking about the young talents in the team, Kohli said: "They are obviously very talented and that's why they are here. Shubman (Gill) hasn't got opportunities  in Test cricket yet. So, as and when he gets opportunities, it needs to be seen how he goes about things. He is a confident young man. Prithvi has performed well at Test level, but he will be playing in Australia for the first time, so it's very exciting to see his progress as well. Mayank came around in the last tour and batted brilliantly without any baggage. That's what you expect from the younger guys - just go out there, express themselves and play fearless cricket," Kohli said.

He, however, did not reveal much about the combination for the first Test. While there are talks that KL Rahul could be preferred as an opener, Kohli said, "It all boils down to the combination. KL is a quality player, and that's why he has been included in the Test squad. We will have to see what combination suits the balance of the team best. Everyone is playing well, they are feeling good. We have a lot of quality players. Someone like a Hanuma Vihari has been absolutely solid, he is someone who has grit and character. KL was brought into the side, understanding that we do have opening options already. When Rohit comes back into the team, we have another opener who is established and is going to start. So, where and how KL fits, is a conversation we have to monitor closely. We have to bring our best squad in Australia and then go for the best suited combination," he said.

The other day, Rahane stated that it will be a challenge for batsmen in the twilight period. Kohli said that it is not possible to plan anything in Test cricket. "Test cricket is all about encountering situations and reacting to those situations to the best of your abilities. Understanding when you need to attack, defend or bat through the session. Pink ball brings in a few more variables like the twilight period. It's a tricky one to bat in that situation. Bowling in the first session as well - you have got to be disciplined. At night, you have more to offer with the ball. That's something we will have to analyse and monitor as we go into the Test match and as we encounter situations changing and unfolding," Kohli said.

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