Aus vs Ind: We can beat Australia in their own backyard, says Kohli
Mumbai: Set to embark for a gruelling Test tour of Australia starting December 4, star batsman Virat Kohli on Friday said that India will play aggressive and positive cricket in their four-match series and his young side can beat the Aussies in their own backyard.
“We are confident of our ability and character of players in the Test side. Everyone is keen to go out there and experience the condition in Australia and the challenge that it brings,” Kohli said at the pre-departure press conference.
“It has to be caution with aggression. First priority is to be positive and aggressive and then we dictate terms when we can. The intent has to be positive and aggressive and have that mindset. We obviously will have plan Bs and Cs to fall back on,” said the 26-year-old Kohli who will lead the side in the first Test in Brisbane.
Regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been rested for the first Test as he is recovering from a right thumb injury and he is expected to lead the side from second Test (in Adelaide from Dec 12-16) onwards. The third and fourth Tests will be played in Melbourne (Dec 26-30) and Sydney (Jan 3-7).
Kohli said it was imperative to pick the right combination in Tests and not tinker much with the playing XI.
“We have to figure out the best combination for the Test series. Test series is all about sticking to a particular combination and giving them confidence and not let them feel there are guys sitting out to replace them. We can't go with a mindset that we will go there and see what happens,” he said.
“You have to keep thinking about winning all the time. We have good chances of beating them at home which we have done in the past. There is no reason why we can't repeat that. All the people in the team are of aggressive nature,” he added.
The Indian team leaves for Australia wee hours tomorrow.
The Delhi batsman said it was a blessing in disguise that the side would be playing in Australia before the World Cup as they would be used to the conditions prior to the mega event.
“The first focus is on the Test series and we will think about the World Cup after the tri-nation series. It will be a blessing before the World Cup to be playing in Australia. We are not going to be surprised by the tracks over there, which is going to be good for us,” he said.
Kohli, who will captain the Test side for the first time in Brisbane match, said personally also he would be looking forward to the tour after a decent performance in his previous visit to Australia in 2012.
“For me personally, the last tour was a milestone in my career. I was a different person and a different cricketer when I left the shore of Australia in 2012,” said Kohli, who scored 300 (with one century and one half century) runs in four matches in that tour which India lost 0-4.
“I am glad that I got the opportunity to captain the Test side, it is a dream come true for me. Hopefully we can start off on the right foot,” he said.
Asked if the cricketers were affected by the recent off-field happenings in Indian cricket, Kohli said, “Our focus has been on cricket throughout and we have not really focused on things that have been happening off the field. Anything regarding those things, the management will have a quote or an explanation.
“I would like to talk about cricket only and I can assure you the focus has been on cricket and what we want to achieve in the next six months. We have not been distracted by any off the field issues,” he said.
Team director Ravi Shastri said it was important to enjoy the Australia tour rather than be wary of the opposition.
“It is very important when you tour Australia that you enjoy the trip, and not be intimidated by Australia's record in Australia. It demands tremendous self-belief and I believe this team has it,” he said.
“We have got an exciting bunch of young players but that does not mean they should be intimidated by the opposition. If you are prepared to guts it out, then there is no reason why you can't perform. They are good competitors but we can show them that even we are good competitors. This bunch has it,” the former India captain said.
Coach Duncan Fletcher was not present at the press conference.