Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
India stand-in captain Virat Kohli has called on the national team to be positive and aggressive during their upcoming Test series against Australia.
Kohli was handed the reins for the first Test in Brisbane since regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is currently recovering from a thumb injury.
“Right now the mood in the team is very positive, we are focusing on being aggressive and having that mindset throughout as a habit rather than fading out in six months’ time,” Kohli said.
Kohli also admitted that India will be looking for revenge since they were whitewashed 4-0 when they last toured Australia in 2011-12.
“Last tour to Australia was a strong change,” Kohli said. “I never experienced the aggression and that kind of an atmosphere. I will try to impart that experience to other players of what to expect and what sort of mindset to go with. Once we go with a negative mindset that will keep catching up. You have to be positive every single day. That is something we will focus on going in this tour.
“The way I batted in the South Africa Tests, personally they were quite memorable for me. I am hopeful that experience will count. It helps mentally as well because you have performed well in difficult conditions.”
Meanwhile, India’s team director Ravi Shastri believes that Kohli is a natural leader and will continue to excel as he gets more and more experience.
“We have no choice. MS has hardly missed a match in the last so many years. He has played every format for the last so many years, so it’s only fair that he gives himself time to be fully fit and come back,” Shastri said. “Meanwhile, you have to go with what you have. Virat’s leading the side and it might be his first Test match as captain but I can assure you, you will see a guy who you feel has led in 20 to 25 Test matches.”
Kohli also noted that being stationed in Australia for three months will definitely allow the national team to get accustomed to the pitch and weather conditions prior to the start of the 2015 World Cup.
“It will definitely help us during the World Cup. However, right now our focus is only on the Test series. We will think about the World Cup at the time of the tri-series,” Kohli said. “But obviously playing in a place where the World Cup is going to be held in a few months’ time will definitely be helpful. We can plan for the World Cup better and this is like a blessing that we will get a chance to prepare better for it. We will not be surprised when we go to the World Cup as to the kind of wickets we will get. It is a very good thing for us.”
However, Shastri sees that as a problem since he is slightly worried about the fact that India might be burnt out by the time the World Cup gets underway in February.
“When you have a long tour, you have the ability to switch off. Don’t be thinking overtime, focus on what you have to do but when you are not playing, switch off. You have got to have a way of relaxing, you have got to have hobbies,” Shastri said. “A round of golf – and Australia is a great country, there are enough places to go to. Get your mind off the cricket, which is very important when you are not playing so that you are fresh and hungry by the time World Cup starts. That’s the key. It’s not in what form you are. It’s the mental state, how fresh and how hungry are you when you get out there. You will be hungry but your mental state has to be extremely fresh.”