Team India’s red-ball skipper Virat Kohli has reckoned that his side will draw lots of motivation from the third Test win at Johannesburg in January 2018, which came in the ‘toughest conditions’ and said his team is aiming to perform well and win a series at a place where they have never won before.
India are scheduled to play three Tests against South Africa, starting from December 26 in Centurion and in a virtual pre-departure press conference on Wednesday, Kohli said: “We can take a lot of motivation from that (Johannesburg 2018 win). We probably won in the toughest conditions of that tour. So that should give us a lot of confidence. If we start off with the right mindset and with self-confidence and belief, we can definitely stand up to any challenge that comes our way and take a lot of heart from it.”
“South Africa is one place where we have not won a series yet, so we are very motivated to do that and that mindset is always to go out there in any country and win the series. We don’t think of winning just a Test match here and there and we will do our absolute best to make sure we keep contributing towards the cause. We will take a lot of motivation and belief from that win on the last tour,” added he.
Kohli further felt that the playing conditions in South Africa is very challenging for the batters on many fronts such as seam, bounce and even swing when the conditions are favourable.
“South Africa presents a different kind of challenge,” Kohli reckoned.
“The wickets have a lot of pace and bounce and you have to be at your absolute best to perform there and get runs — get difficult runs. It’s something we’ve tried to do as a team but probably left ourselves a bit too much to do at certain times. And when sessions have gone bad, they have gone very bad, which we have controlled well in the recent past with more experience and guys understanding conditions. So, I think we’re well-placed in terms of experience, belief, and confidence that this time around we can do something special and get results we want as a team and overcome conditions to go and win a series,” he added.
Meanwhile, as Team India will miss the services of ace all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma, Kohli said it’s an opportunity for players who step into their shoes and do something special.
“Jadeja is a very important player for us. He contributes to all three departments which is invaluable overseas and he will be missed,” the skipper noted.
“That said, we do have the quality in the side to be able to create the best combination possible and still be able to win Test matches. Because we’ve created that bench strength and environment where people coming in are seizing opportunities, grabbing it with both hands and even making sure the team is helped by their performances. As much as we’ll miss him, it won’t be a deciding factor,” he added.
Further speaking on Rohit’s absence in the side, Kohli said: “Will miss his abilities a lot. He’s proven in England already that he’s really worked his Test game out and the opening partnership was very important for us to play in that series. Obviously, with his experience and skill, we will miss those qualities. That said, it’s an opportunity for Mayank [Agarwal] and KL [Rahul] to step up and solidify that start for us and make sure the good work is carried on in this series.”
India will play three-Test series in Centurion, Johannesburg and Cape Town on their tour while the ODIs will be held at Paarl and Cape Town. Paarl is scheduled to host the first two ODIs.