India will face Sri Lanka at the Galle International Stadium in the first of three test matches on Wednesday. Virat Kohli looked very confident ahead of the start of the test series and discussed about the mindset in the team in a press conference on Tuesday.
When Kohli was asked about the possibility of Rohit Sharma opening the batting in the absence of KL Rahul, he said that,“Rohit has never opened in Test cricket and we don’t see that kind of experiment happening here because we have specialist openers in the team and they will obviously be starting this game.”
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KL Rahul is returning from an injury but unfortunately he won’t be a part of the first test match as he is suffering from flu.
The captain said that, “KL Rahul is down with flu, but it is not serious and he only needs a few days to recover. KL is a very established player for us and he has done really well in the past couple of years in all formats, a very solid player.”
On India’s tour to Sri Lanka in 2015
Kohli said this tour is completely different in comparison to the series in 2015, because of the change in the team’s mindset.
“That series was very important for us, in terms of us coming together as a team and believing that we can win series and not just games. That was the beginning of that mindset and we were able to build on that culture and mindset in the last couple of years.”
‘Rangana Herath is a quality bowler’
Virat Kohli admitted that Herath is a quality spinner for Sri Lanka and was really impressive against India in the previous series.
“We understand what he brings to the table and we understand what needs to be done. I am sure everyone is taking personal responsibility to plan their innings in a certain way and play bowlers accordingly,” he added.
Hardik Pandya as a bowler
Virat Kohli had words of praise for Hardik Pandya, whose ability to take wickets makes him a good choice in the playing XI.
“We got a guy like Hardik Pandya, who has a knack of picking wickets. He has a great chance of playing as well. That gives us the balance. The extra batsman gave us more solidarity.”
“We have taken learnings from the previous series and we will surely apply that straightaway into this series. It is very important to have your strike bowlers to be able to pick up wickets.” said Kohli.
Kohli is quite sure of his team ahead of the series and feels that there aren’t any massive areas of concern.” We are looking to fine-tune areas during the course of the game. We have given responsibility to the players to identify those areas.”
“The responsibility taken by such a young bunch of players to go out there and make a difference for the team. Even the substitutes who sit on the sideline, their concern for the team, it is great to see them as a part of the team.”
“The culture in the team is outstanding and makes me proud. All guys think we can do it. We have the belief and trust.” said Kohli on the atmosphere within the team
On the challenging phase ahead
“I think we have built a very good base for us as a team. We don’t see any series as a launchpad but for playing consistently. We realise what needs to be done.”
“We are very humble in our preparations and are willing to do the hard yards in every game.”
He said that the next phase is going to be challenging but the team believes that they have the skills to win away from home.