MOHALI: Last year when the South Africans toured India, there was a lot of debate over the type of pitches dished out to the visitors. Different terms were used for those tracks – raging turner, rank turner, square turners – and expectedly, India won 3-0. As AB de Villiers had pointed out that time, the experience of playing on those tracks left the South Africans “scarred”. Critics said the Indians could win only on “doctored” pitches.
This season, though, India have defeated New Zealand 3-0 and are leading 2-0 against England playing on pitches which cannot be called “doctored” by any stretch of the imagination. Though spinners have played a part, the wickets have been batting friendly too. In Mohali, for instance, there were no demons in the pitch right until the end.
So Virat Kohli chose the perfect moment to hit back at critics, saying his team had proved they don’t depend on pitches to win. “We have shown that this team can win on any type of pitch. We don’t just want dry, square turners to win,” the Indian captain said.
“I think it’s exactly been 12 months about us playing on unfair pitches and the question has turned itself. So we don’t need to say much about the pitches. We are a team that is focused on playing good cricket to win sessions and situations, or if we
are in trouble, come back out of those tough situations.”
In fact, India won convincingly even on a seaming wicket against New Zealand in Kolkata earlier this year, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar picking up a five-for. Kohli used the example of that match to elaborate his point.
“Even in Kolkata (against New Zealand), we showed that we don’t want dry, square turners, we have enough skill to play good cricket and win against any team in the world. That’s the belief we have created in the dressing room. That can only happen when you are not bothered about what’s happening outside that door and focus on your own skills,” he said.
Talking about the Mohali track, Kohli said, “It was a perfectly good wicket for cricket. Even for pace bowlers as well, as our guys (fast bowlers) really rushed in and put in an effort and got results. It was a wicket on which if you persisted long enough you would get results.”
Kohli was all praise for his bowling unit, including the bowlers who are on the bench. “(Having a strong bowling unit) boosts your confidence up a notch, especially when you have quality bowlers in your reserves as well. As a captain, you always feel that you can ask your main guys to push every game that they play,” he said. “Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are sitting and waiting for their chance. Even a quality spinner like Amit Mishra is not playing. The good thing is whoever is playing is making his presence felt.”