Kohli asks for green tops to prepare for South Africa tour

The India captain explained his team is "cramped for time" in the lead-up to the South African tour.

India captain Virat Kohli with Murali Vijay during a practice session at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur on Thursday.   -  Vivek Bendre

India captain Virat Kohli made an emphatic statement that the team management has asked for pitches to be prepared for the three Test series against Sri Lanka, akin to the ones  his team is likely to play in South Africa. "Yes" he said when asked if instructions has been sent to the hosting centres for the ongoing series.

Kohli, who made 272 runs on his first visit to South Africa four years ago, starting with a 119 at the Wanderers and following it with scores of 96, 46 and 1, gave reasons for the same. "Unfortunately, we only get 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. 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.’’

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He further explained: "As usual (we are) cramped for time, which I think we needed to assess in future as well, because we very easily assess the team that goes abroad, but we don’t look at how many days we have got to prepare before we go to a particular place. And everyone starts judging players when results come after the Test matches.

"It should be a fair game wherein we get to prepare the way we want to and then we are entitled to be criticised. So we thought this is an ample opportunity for us to challenge ourselves, put us in a (game) situation. As I said, we want to embrace being in difficult conditions. I am not saying that everyone will go out and perform immediately, but if we can feel comfortable about it after one or two or three innings, someone will come good. And once you come good, you build on that confidence. It’s the same for the bowlers. Yes, we are looking at this as an opportunity."

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Kohli also reflected on the chances of playing two spinners overseas: "I can’t commit to that 100 percent when we play abroad because we need to have a look at the balance of the side as well. Obviously, those two guys (Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja) with their batting abilities are both contenders to start a Test match depending upon the batsmen we are up against in the opposition;  because 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. Just because of the angle of the ball coming in makes so much difference against a spinner. And it can turn away from you at some stage in the Test match.

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"But yes, we count them as all-rounders because they have proved themselves in different situations and they have made some very important contributions to the team. So they are no tail-enders. Their ranking does justice to that. They have improved their games, it gives us a good balance when we play both of them because when you play both of them, you can, if you want to, play an extra bowler as well. So that certainly gives us some cushion to play around," he explained.