England have struggled against spin bowling all year
India batsman Virat Kohli sees no problem in making England play on spin-friendly pitches during the upcoming Test series, and added that there is nothing unfair about it.
Kohli noted that the conditions in India’s tour to England and Australia last year were extremely different to what the team is used to at home, but despite it being unfair, none of the team members made a fuss.
Speaking exclusively to PTI, Kohli said: “Why not [turning pitches]? We were given flattest of tracks during practice matches in England and Australia and then suddenly presented with a green-top during the Tests, during practice matches, we would face those 120kmph bowlers … If they [England and Australia] wanted to be fair to us, they could have provided us with same kind of tracks for practice matches, like what were used in Tests. Especially, when they knew that visiting teams get very less time to practice. Now they would be playing on turning tracks and definitely would know where they stand.”
With Kevin Pietersen now back in the England team, Kohli stated that the pressure will be on the South African-born batsman to perform since he is used to the conditions in India due to playing numerous seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Kohli further mentioned that Pietersen was supposedly the best player of spin in the entire England team, who have struggled to pick up mystery deliveries like the doosra in the past.
“There will be huge pressure on KP as he has been playing in India for quite some time and considered to be a good batsman against spin. You may say that the senior England cricketers have an understanding of these conditions but let me tell you, it’s not that easy. You might feel they would like to hit spinners but end up doing exactly opposite,” Kohli added.
Kohli went on to highlight that England were whitewashed 3-0 by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in January, and stated that the main reason behind their thrashing was their problems with spin bowling.
“That particular series, there wasn’t much turn on offer but England couldn’t negotiate one quality spinner [Saeed Ajmal]; they lost the battle in their heads,” Kohli said.
There has been talk in the past about India’s failure to play short-pitched bowling well, but Kohli was quick to dismiss those claims as pure rubbish.
“I have never really understood this theory. Are people like Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag poor players of short-pitched bowling? Show me how many Indian players were out to short-pitched deliveries in Australia? No batsman in world cricket is comfortable against a good bouncer. If you get a good bouncer, give credit to the bowler rather than finding chinks in batsman’s armoury,” Kohli added.
Kohli was also quick to defend India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher about the team’s horrendous record in overseas tours.
“Under him [Dhoni], we have won the World Cup, been No. 1 in Tests … He has also encouraged the juniors. Duncan is also a thorough professional. He would quietly stand in one corner and observe. If he needs to say something, he would come up and give a suggestion. He believes international cricketers know their jobs. If we have lost eight Test matches, blame us and not the coach,” Kohli said.