Since MS Dhoni is not fit Virat Kohli will be leading India for the very first time in Test cricket. A confident Kohli said

“I will be leading the team tomorrow. We are expecting MS to be a 100 per cent fit in the next three-four days maximum. Given the kind of preparation he wants in Australia before playing a Test, it is too short a time for him to play the first Test without having much practice here.”

Underlining the importance of having Dhoni with the group, Kohli highlighted stating that –

“MS coming in is always a help for the younger guys in the team. His inputs are ever so important for the team. Just discussing things with him and taking a few tips on what we are thinking of doing and how we want to go about it is very helpful. He has been there, done that, has seen possibly every situation in cricket. It’s always great to bounce things off him, get the feedback and utilize what you can.”

Showing determination to win the series with a happy mind set of his team mate, the Indian Captain stated –

“We have spoken about our combinations and plans and we have planned the things we want to achieve, not hoping to achieve. That’s where we want to change things – we have come here with the mindset of winning the series rather than just going out there and seeing what happens. Unless you really believe in something, you will not achieve it. That’s our motto on this tour and leading up to the World Cup as well. The most challenging task for the captain and the team management is keeping everyone in the team on the same page. That’s something we have done quite nicely in the last few days. The guys are happy with what is expected off them and they are very comfortable.”

Realizing the difference between the current squad and the one experienced team that had gone before, Virat Kohli stressed to stay positive –

“Maintaining a positive mindset will be very important. It is very easy for someone who doesn’t do well in the beginning to start sulking as the series progresses and drift away from the kind of mindset we require to win. That is something we are trying to change. We are trying to keep everyone in the right mindset by showing them that we back them and have faith in them. I want all the players to think about how they can make the team win, rather than worry about their individual performances. That’s one area where I personally thought we could improve on. Sometimes, we get too caught up with our own technique and game rather than paying attention to the team plans. These look like very small things but in a team they are big factors.”

Underlining the fact that this is one of the best bowling attack and the analogy he intends to apply, Virat Kohli elaborated

“This is one of the best bowling attacks we have had in Test cricket for a while now with guys who bowl quick, are fit, ready to go and most importantly, are bowling well. It feels good as a captain. To go for five bowlers or four, is a decision we will take after seeing what serves us best. We have to believe that whatever combination we go in with, we are going to get positive results out of it. There is no point taking a safer approach. Rather than going in with a combination that looks safe, I’d prefer having an attack that is more aggressive and more out there. I am personally going to go with whatever my gut feel is and so, you might see quite different things than what you usually do. It might look funny at times but as long as it is effective, I will go with it. I play my cricket aggressively and that’s something I will try to bring in my captaincy as well.”

On need for bouncers, he expressed his crystal clear opinion, he concluded –

“I don’t think that’s even a thing of debate. Bouncer is a part of cricket and it is every bowler’s right to utilize it. If and when it is involved in our plans, we will use it. I don’t think we will drift away from our plans and wills tick to them.” 

    Established sports writer across various global platforms

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