The tour of South Africa will ‘set the standard for our young team’, says Virat Kohli

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Kohli will first have to focus on Australia before getting hyped up about India’s tour of South Africa

India vice-captain Virat Kohli has announced that he is hoping the national team’s tour of South Africa does go ahead as it will “set the standard for our young team”.

“We are looking forward to the South African tour,” Kohli said. “I think that tour will set the standard for our young team to go forward. Hopefully, we get to play some games there. I am not somebody who can take a call. All we can do is to be prepared if a decision comes. We had this tour in mind for a long time. Let’s see how things work out.”

However, Kohli will have to take his mind off South Africa for the time being as he and the rest of the national team have to worry about their seven-match ODI series against Australia.

Kohli noted that even without captain Michael Clarke, who is currently nursing a back injury, Australia are a formidable side.

“They have quite a few match winners in their side,” he said. “And since all of us are pretty much fresh from a two-month break, it’s important to hit the stride early. A winning start will set the tone for the rest of the hectic season.”

Continuing on the topic of Australia, Kohli stated that India would not be afraid to bite back if Australia start sledging.

“If a team tries to bully you or sledge you, you can’t just let that happen,” he said. “You have to give it back.

“Virat Kohli is not the brash young kid because he wore tattoos on his body and fancy hair styles when he first arrived. I am not about funky T-shirts as well. I am what I do on the field and the amount of effort I put in.”

The 24-year-old also praised veteran all-rounder Yuvraj Singh for regaining his spot in the national team and added that it is only a matter of time before pace bowler Zaheer Khan also dons the India colours again.

“I never had doubts about his [Yuvraj Singh] comeback,” Kohli said. “I knew if he gets to play a few domestic matches, he would make it into the side.

“But what pleased the most was the fact that he shut himself completely out from the world and went to France to train. Both him and Zaheer have put in the extra effort. Yuvi has lost weight and looks much fitter.”

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