Kohli: We are a team that looks for answers, not excuses

The Indian skipper Kohli clarified that the team ‘does not want to be rigid’ in its thinking, and that selections are purely combination based.

Virat Kohli in discussion with coach Ravi Shastri ahead of the second Test against South Africa in Pune.   -  AP Photo

India captain Virat Kohli admits that it’s not easy to play Test matches in home conditions. The tracks vary, the conditions change and there are times when the side fails to gain the home advantage.

But Kohli insists his team knows ‘very well’ how to win Test matches by tackling the odds. Ever since taking charge as the captain, Kohli’s record at home Tests has been impressive except for the Pune Test against Australia in 2017, where it suffered a humiliating defeat.

And as his team takes on South Africa in the second Test, starting at the Gahunje Stadium from Thursday, captain Kohli appeared confident. “We know very well how to play in our conditions. We know how to win Test matches,” Kohli said.

“It’s not easy to play Test matches in challenging home conditions. The ball is spinning, we have also found it difficult in the past but we are a team that looks for answers and not excuses so maybe that’s the reason we keep on improving.” Kohli said.

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Mindset holds key

And this habit of ‘searching for answers’ has helped the side perform well. “We don’t take anything for granted as we can lose four to five wickets in a session, we know that as well even though we play in our conditions,” Virat said, adding: “Mindset is key for us and that’s to win every game that we play and not focus on what conditions are on display.”

And perhaps, it’s this mindset that allows the team to bench Kuldeep Yadav and introduce Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in home conditions.

The captain, however, makes it clear that the decision to bench Kuldeep in the first Test in Visakhapatnam was ‘purely because of the combination’.

“He understands that in India, Ashwin and Jadeja will be our first choices because they give us so much more with the bat as well. So for us, it is about finding the best balance for the team, and it's purely combination based,” the India captain said.

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Flexible thinking

“Lot has been spoken and said about the system that we have followed over the last two years. The only thing that matters to us is wanting to win as many games as we can and we have been able to do that. We have the least losing percentage in the last three years and there is a good reason for that.”

Kohli also clarified that the team ‘does not want to be rigid’ in its thinking. “We are flexible but as I said it can’t be possible if the team doesn’t buy into it. The guys have bought into it and people are just wanting to contribute. No one is self-centred and everyone is thinking about what 'I can do for the team'.

"Fast bowlers are happy to contribute, happy to run in and bowl their hearts out. It’s the same with Kuldeep,” Kohli said.