Virat Kohli: Happy that wicket is going to have bounce and carry
Before the start of the second Test against the West Indies, Indian captain Virat Kohli has mentioned that he is not too bothered by the pitch that is being prepared at Sabina Park. There are reports around that the Indian team can expect a green pitch when they take the field at the historic stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.
India won the first Test by an innings and 92 runs, but in the recent past have been troubled by pace and bounce while travelling aboard. But Kohli did not seem too bothered as he faced the press a day before the start of the second Test.
“We're not focussing on the opposition too much but we are happy that the wicket is going to have some bounce and carry. There was decent enough bounce in Antigua for us to exploit whatever help was there. Jamaica is going to be even better. It's a result-oriented ground and we're quite excited about it. We've got good pace, the bowlers are bowling good areas.
“We believe that our batsmen are good enough to tackle any pace and bounce that West Indies' bowlers have. The plan is to go out there and play with the determination and focus that we showed in the first game. Obviously, we need to be wary of the conditions a bit more because it is a ground that is result oriented.
“It's obviously going to take more application than we showed at Antigua. It's going to take more responsibility and more concentration by the batsmen to get the job done. R Ashwin came good at six, Wriddhiman Saha played well and Amit Mishra got runs too. That just deepens our batting line-up and gives us the same bowling options that are required to take 20 wickets,” the Indian skipper said.
Rahul to replace Vijay
With opening batsman Murali Vijay ruled out of the Test due to an injury, Kohli confirmed that young Karnataka batsman KL Rahul will replace Vijay. Rahul, who has had a hit-and-miss Test career so far, will get his first opportunity in whites since the tour of Sri Lanka which was almost a year ago.
In 5 Tests so far, despite hitting two centuries, Rahul has just 256 runs to his name. He will want to prove that he is a much better Test batsman than his average of 25.60 suggests.
“Rahul has been in a very good zone. He scored runs in the practice games, he scored in Zimbabwe and he had a great IPL season. I think that was the turnaround for confidence as far as he's concerned. Last year, he had a good tour to Sri Lanka, got a hundred there, but again he didn't play against South Africa.
“It's more a case of a guy waiting for an opportunity. He wants to play. He's batting really well and wants to make it count. He wants to get big runs. I'm confident of his abilities. He's pretty compact, he's a solid opener and he's a great fielder as well. He gives you that wicket-keeping option as well, in case something happens to Saha,” Kohli added.
Other changes unlikely
Asked whether the Indian team management would be tempted to drop one spinner to accommodate an extra batsman or a fast bowler, the Delhi-born cricketer noted that it is difficult to change a winning team and that spinners will be crucial in the later stages of the match despite the pitch and the conditions.
"It's not overcast conditions and a green pitch where you will compromise on one spinner. You know that when the wicket dries up it will start turning and there is good bounce so the spinners will come into play," he said.