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South Africa vs India 2018: We are still operating at 80 percent, insists Virat Kohli

Ram Kumar
3.74K   //    25 Feb 2018, 21:34 IST

Gavaskar Kohli Pollock
Flanked on either side by Sunil Gavaskar and Graeme Pollock, Kohli is all smiles with the ICC Test Mace

What's the story?

After receiving the prestigious ICC Test mace for defending their number one ranking in South Africa, Indian skipper Virat Kohli has insisted that his team is currently operating at just 80 percent. Urging his troops to rise to the challenges awaiting them in the form of gruelling trips to England and Australia later in the year, he hoped that his Test side turn themselves into the world-class unit during those two marquee series.

Looking ahead to the challenging tours of England and Australia, Kohli asserted, "I'd say we are still 80 percent. When we are able to achieve what we want to in the two tours, we'll be more content. But our 80 percent is also exciting. To be a world-class side, you have to be 100 percent."

The background

Upon arriving in South Africa with 124 rating points in ICC's Test rankings, India lost three rating points following their 1-2 defeat in the Test series.

The heart of the matter

When the third Test began at the iconic Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, India had needed to win not just to avoid a series whitewash but to also seal their number one ranking. On a treacherous surface, which would eventually be rated 'poor' by the ICC, the visitors played brilliantly to register a memorable triumph.

By virtue of their 63-run victory, India made sure of retaining their number one Test ranking for the yearly cut-off date of April 3. Even if South Africa go on to clean-sweep Australia by a 4-0 margin in the upcoming series, they can only come within two points of the top-ranked Indian team.

What's next?

India's next Test match will be against new entrants Afghanistan between June 14 and 18 in Bengaluru. After that, they are set to embark to England for a 5-match Test series during August and September. The eagerly awaited 2018/19 edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy is slated to take place in November and December.

Author's take

A warm-up match prior to the tour and cleverer team selection could have given India a better shot at the Test series in South Africa.

Nevertheless, the Johannesburg victory will certainly give fill them with confidence when they eventually take on England away from home. If they desire to win the marquee Test series, India cannot afford to operate at just 80 percent of their potential.

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Ram Kumar
Someone who views sport as a metaphor for life.
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