Nagpur: Indian captain Virat Kohli today lamented the lack of preparatory time for the upcoming tour of South Africa, saying the “cramped” schedule left him with no choice but to seek bouncy tracks in the ongoing series against Sri Lanka to be ready for the challenge ahead.
India would be leaving for South Africa for a series of three Tests, six ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals, just a couple of days after the home series against Sri Lanka gets over on December 24. The second Test between the hosts and the islanders starts here tomorrow.
Asked if he had specifically asked for bouncy tracks, Kohli gave a direct answer, saying: “Yes (I had), because unfortunately we get only two days before we fly to South Africa after this series gets over. So we have no choice but try to be in a game situation and think of what’s coming ahead of us.
“Had we got a month off ideally, we would have done a proper preparation in a camp sort of scenario but we have to sort of make do with what we have.”
The Indian team will finish their limited overs engagement against Sri Lanka on December 24 (final T20) before they fly off to South Africa on December 27.
Kohli stressed on the necessity to space out series as at times the team needs to do its preparation differently for a bigger series.
“As usual cramped for time, which I think we needed to assess in future as well because we very easily assess the team when go abroad but we don’t look at how many days we have got to prepare before we go to a particular place to play,” the skipper said ahead of the second Test against Sri Lanka, starting here tomorrow.
“And everyone starts judging players when results come after Test matches. It should be a fair game, where we get to prepare the way we want to and then we are entitled to be criticised. So we thought this is an ample opportunity for us to challenge ourselves, put us in a situation (which they expect to encounter in South Africa),” he added.
The skipper also made it clear that he can’t guarantee permanent first XI slots for Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja when the team travels abroad, where in all probability, a single spinner will be in operation.
“I can’t commit to that 100 per cent when we play abroad that we will be playing with two spinners, to be honest. It is because we need to have a look at the balance of the side as well. Obviously, those two guys with their batting abilities are both contenders to start a Test match depending upon the batsmen we are up against in the opposition,” Kohli said.
Kohli then explained the rationale that will decide whether to play Ashwin or Jadeja.
“It’s very important to understand if a left-arm spinner is bowling to five right-handers or the off-spinner is bowling to four left-handers. Just because of the angle the ball coming in makes so much difference against a spinner. And it can turn away from you at some stage in the Test match. Those are very minor factors that you assess before picking the first spinner in overseas conditions.”
Spinners have taken more than 100 wickets at Jamtha since the first Test played here in 2008 but those factors won’t be taken into account when he decides on playing XI for tomorrow.
“That won’t matter because, obviously you have to look at what you are playing at, what kind of wicket you are playing on and pick the team accordingly. I don’t think the past record should matter a lot because you can see totally different wickets at venues when you play at different times.
“For example, the Ashes Test match going on right now doesn’t seem to be the usual Gabba wicket that we see with lot of pace, bounce and carry. So, it all depends on what you are playing on and then select the team accordingly,” Kohli concluded.