Virat Kohli unhappy with practice pitch in South Africa, asks for green wicket

first_imgIt will certainly be Virat Kohli’s biggest Test series as the Indian captain but Kohli is not happy with the practice pitch provided to the team at the Western Province Cricket Club in Cape Town, South Africa.Even as Team India practiced indoors on Sunday due to rain in Cape Town, Kohli had earlier said after the outdoor practice session, “If you look at the wicket that we are practicing on right now then it is not even 15 per cent of what we are going to get in the game so we understand that.”There is no point wasting two days in which guys go out and score quick fifties and come out. We would rather have them do two sessions like today and get into the Test match zone and test ourselves. We can try and prepare the wicket the way we want to but if you are playing a two-day game then there is no room for changing the wicket at different times of the day.”The Indian team management had earlier cancelled their one-off two-day practice game and instead decided to hold extended practice sessions to gear up for the Test series but those preparations have not been ideal with the pitch not being up to the mark.Still the team is not sweating over the same and are focused on gearing up to face the no.2 ranked Test team in their own backyard.”Here we have the option to just put more water on the wicket, roll it & make it harder come tomorrow’s practice session and then we will have conditions that we want. You are never sure if you are going to get quality practice games or not. We would rather have practice sessions that are in our control. It does not matter whether you play three practice games if you are not in the right frame of mind starting January 5. If you are in a good head space and have practice sessions then I feel that is good enough as well”, added Kohli.advertisementThe groundsman at the WPCC also confirmed that Team India was not happy with the practice pitch. “The Indian team management told me that they want a green wicket so we are trying to prepare that. We are trying to keep it similar than that one but we are just keeping the balance. It is not going to be the same but we are trying to keep the balance and even so if they practice here then they are going to have a nice game at Newlands”, said Andrew Mathys, Head Groundsman of the WPCC.Not satisfied with the conditions and eager to be ready for the 1st Test, Kohli-Shastri and company have asked for two new practice pitches to be prepared for them. “We prepared main wicket for them but they want a greenish pitch (which is) nice and hard. As you can see what we have done is take off too much grass but it should not be a problem as the wicket is solid and hard. On the other side we are preparing two nets for them as well which will have a lot of grass and that is what they want basically. Further on everything should be fine”, disclosed John Martin, the Supervisor at WPCC.No matter the conditions, the team knows their performances will be closely followed on this tour after a sensational 2017 where they did not lose any series (of more than one match) across formats against any opposition. Coach Ravi Shastri is not ready to offer any excuses for the team’s performance in South Africa this time round.”All I will say is that this team is up for the challenge. In fact if you asked me four years ago whether the team was up for the challenge then I would have said ‘no’, but this team has gained in experience now. We look at the pitch and adapt to those conditions as simple as that, it does not matter who the opposition is. Every game is a home game, even this is a home game in Newlands. You see the pitch you adapt, no excuses or complaints as two teams have to play on that surface. Tomorrow you go to England it might be seaming all over the place, you come to India then it might be turning. So if you want to be rated as a good side then you adapt to those conditions”, said the Indian coach.INDIAN BATSMEN IN 2013 SOUTH ARICA TEST SERIESadvertisementIndia last toured the rainbow nation in 2013 for a two-match Test series which ended 1-0 in favour of the hosts. The Indian batting unit did put up a decent show back then, but Kohli says he and the team are much better prepared for the challenge during the three-Test series in 2018.”From a personal point of view I understand my game much better (than last time India toured SA) and I have had many highs and lows after that. Right now the team is very comfortable with where we stand both individually with our personal skills sets and as a team. We know exactly what we need to do if we have to bounce back from a certain situation or if we want to create chances then how we need to create them.”I think there is a sense of intelligence and awareness that has crept in the last four years and that provides the excitement that we are talking about. We know exactly what we need to do come game time on January 5. It is not like we are going to go out and explore and see what happens, we are not in that frame of mind. We know how to win Test matches now and that is a very good habit and knowledge to have and we are just preparing the best way we can to execute those skill sets,” concluded the Indian skipper.India are ranked no.1 in Test cricket and have a healthy 13-point lead against their next opponents South Africa. Even a defeat would see Kohli’s boys hold on to their Test crown.last_img

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