Virat decodes the success story of Indian pacers
- Captain Kohli explains how a shift in mindset has enabled India’s pacers to be effective even in difficult home conditions
- The hosts began the three-match Test series against South Africa with an emphatic 203-run win in Vizag
- The second Test begins in Pune from October 10
Virat Kohli decodes India’s bowling performance following the home team's 203-run win in the first Test over South Africa, especially praising the all-terrain pace attack. Excerpts from a chat with Star Sports in Vizag.
On the performance of the lead spinners...
We always knew it was going to be a second-innings game. Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) and Ash (Ravichandran Ashwin) were really, really good. Ashwin in the first innings was very good given the conditions. The pitch was flat, they got a few boundaries but you have to accept that, because we also got 500. It wasn’t like there were any demons in the pitch. The fact that Ashwin picked up seven wickets in the first innings was a great effort from his end, and Jadeja in the second made those quick breakthroughs for us in that spell.
On how India’s pacers have made their presence felt even in flat home conditions...
I think the attitude and the mindset they have created for themselves, it’s been outstanding in the last two years. If the fast bowlers step out on the field thinking spinners are going to do all the work, then it doesn’t do any justice to them playing in the XI.
Even in India, they are looking to make a contribution. It’s not like it’s hot and humid and they give up. They would ask for shorter spells so that they can give 100 percent, which is communication that’s required from both ends. I think they have been brilliant in terms of doing that for the team. It’s all about the attitude.
Guys like (Mohammed) Shami, Ishant (Sharma), Jasprit (Bumrah) recently and Umesh (Yadav) are doing those important things in the game which we want them to do. Even a couple of wickets in a spell help the spinners — who might be dominating from the other end — to get a bit of a breather. It’s all about wanting to make a play for the team. This is what is setting the fast men apart even when the conditions are difficult.
This lot is much better than the last lot we played with. So some improvement has been made. We would like the ball to be hard and consistent throughout the 80 overs. If it softens up after 40-45 overs, you have nothing happening in the game, which is not ideal for Test cricket. The hard ball obviously kicks a bit more, makes it difficult for batsmen.
We would like to see that happen on a consistent basis, the ball remaining hard for at least 60 overs, if not 80. So that we are (all) in the game through and through. That’s the fun of Test cricket. Bowlers keep coming at you and trouble you, you need to be able to score runs then, and both teams are in the game. That’s the whole fun and essence of Test cricket.
On the batting performance...
“Rohit (Sharma) was outstanding in both innings, Mayank (Agarwal), along with him in the first innings, was brilliant. And in the second innings as well he started off so well. (Cheteshwar) Pujara played with the tempo that allowed the rest of us to come in and get those extra runs so that we had 10, maybe 12 extra overs to bowl at the opposition. It was a hard grind, though, because of the conditions, especially the weather conditions and the pitch slowing down as well.”