Rajkot: Virat Kohli on Tuesday held his cards close to his chest as he refused to reveal India’s playing XI for the first Test against England starting on Wednesday in Rajkot.
The Indian Test skipper, who said that he will not reveal the team combination at this stage, also made it clear that England did not struggle in Bangladesh but the home team played better in the second Test to draw the two-Test series.
"The combination is something I will obviously not speak about at this stage. I wouldn't say England struggled, they played really well in the first game (in Bangladesh). The second game, Bangladesh played better in their conditions. We know England is a side that came to India last time and played well. We're not going to take anything for granted although we're playing some really good cricket," Kohli said on the eve of the first Test against England.
"We want to focus on our strengths but you cannot ignore the opposition altogether. At the same time, you have to be confident in what you do as a team. That's something we've focused on and that's one reason why we've been able to get the results we have in the last 12-14 months.
"That's something we want to continue, it's about having a right balance of not getting too overconfident but at the same time, not giving too much importance to the opposition as well. We have to maintain that right balance."
The Alastair Cook-led side are under a lot of pressure to drastically improve their game against spin after Mehedi Hasan Raza and Shakib Al Hasan bamboozled them in the recently concluded Test series. While India are waiting to unleash the R Ashwin-led spin attack which comprises Ravinda Jadeja and Amit Mishra.
Cook has stated that they were the underdogs in the series, however, Kohli highlighted that India will focus on their strengths and they won’t ignore the opposition.
"I think some team might want to play it low at the start of the series and then surprise the opponent, but we are quite aware of those things. We have experienced those sorts of tactics in the past," said Kohli.
"But at the same time we don't want to get too ahead of ourselves. We understand what we need to do, so we are not going to get swayed away or carried away by the praise or adulation; at the same time, criticism as well. If it's a constructive criticism from the team management or from the people we observe the game very well, it's always welcome. But we never get carried away by praise.
"That's why we have been able to perform consistently and that's our only goal, to keep improving as a side and keep winning games of cricket. Nothing changes for us."
Kohli also seemed confident about using the Decision Review System (DRS) in the five-Test series against England. He said the technology is not rocket science.
"Well there is no rocket science on DRS. As a cricketer you understand, you have a fair idea of where the ball has hit the pad, whether it has pitched in line or hit in line. Those are pretty basic things in cricket. You don't have to necessarily go through a course for DRS.
"I think we have observed enough watching on TV how DRS is used. It really depends on what the bowler and a wicket-keeper, most importantly, think about the particular event or if a referral has to be made. It is pretty simple. It's nothing that we are focusing too much on. It just gives you another opportunity to check on a decision if you feel is not right. And I think that's pretty fair."
When asked whether captaincy brings out the best in him, Kohli said that it has changed much of his mindset and he always wanted to be a responsible player. And even before I became captain, I wanted to correct my mistakes and improve as a batsman and make best of my abilities to help the team win.