IND vs ENG: Virat Kohli’s warning to batsmen: Indian captain Virat Kohli on Tuesday asserted that his team is capable of beating even a full-strength England in their own backyard but said it is prudent to keep one’s ego in pocket while batting in the tough English conditions.
England were without top all-rounder Ben Stokes, key pacers Jofra Archers and Chris Woakes in the first two Tests, and now, Mark Wood has also been ruled out of the third match, starting Wednesday.
Asked if this was the right time to go for the kill and win the series, Kohli was not amused with the question.
“Does it depend on the strength of the opposition? Even when the key players were playing, we think we can beat anyone,” said Kohli, clearly not impressed with the question.
“We do not wait for the opposition to be weak. So, I do not think that is the right question to ask a team that has been playing such good cricket over the last so many years. We do not depend on the opposition to be weak, that is not how we approach any series.”
When asked to explain what it is like batting in English conditions, where the ball seams and swings consistently, Kohli gave an honest opinion.
“You can never say in England that now you are set (on pitch). You have to put your ego in your pocket. The conditions are not the same as it is in other places where you reach 30-40 and know that you can pick balls for your shots,” he said.
“You have to bat the same way you bat for your first 30 runs and then repeat the same template till it is possible. This discipline and patience is required in England.
“If you are not patient in England you can get out at anytime, no matter how experienced you are or how many runs you have under your belt. You need good decision making because conditions in England are toughest in the world, in my opinion,” he said.
None of the members of the current Indian team has played at the Headingley where England have some memorable performances. Kohli said it does not matter to him or his teammates if they have not played a Test at the venue.
“Look I am not an individual who likes to attach much importance to things that are on the outside for us. It’s just a Test match that needs to be played against England, be at any stadium, anywhere in the world.
So we just need to do what we need to do as a team. What has happened here, we are not focussed on that at all. All our energies are focussed on what we want to do as a team in the next five days,” he said.
Kohli had said that on-field provocation was good for the intensity of his side during the Lord’s Test but did not share details when asked what had actually provoked them.
“I can’t give you details of the words that was spoken. It was for camera and stump mike to pick that up for both teams. And then we analysed. What’s done in the moment, give you extra motivation obviously to get together as a team more strongly.
“The details of which are not necessary to be discussed after (it happened) because when you play competitive sport these things happen but it’s what you do after that situation or how you get up from that situation is what matters. For us this is fresh beginning, it’s another opportunity to show what we can do as a team.”
Kohli did not attach any importance to the fact that his side now stands a chance to win a historic series in England. The last time India played at Headingley, they won by an innings.
“I don’t think about history much. For us as team, taking better decision wherever we play is all that matters. To keep remembering something or running after something, we don’t do that. We know what our processes are and we follow that.
“History does not guarantee you anything. If you have not won somewhere that does not mean you will not win there and if you have won somewhere that does not mean you can’t lose there.
“It all depends on mindset at present moment. It looks good to hear all those things but you need to focus on present,” he said.