Hyderabad: Indian skipper Virat Kohli is all set for the second and final Test match against West Indies in Hyderabad and believes that the wicket at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium is good for both batting as well as bowling. “It has always been a good wicket in Hyderabad. The weather in Hyderabad is good because of which the pitch does not wear and tear much. There is a decent level of grass cover on the pitch. The surface is always hard so if you bowl well you can take wickets and if you bat well you can also score runs. That is always been the true nature of this wicket,” he said on Thursday.
Kohli believes that his fielding unit is pretty balanced and the ones in the slip cordon have been really good. “The slip cordon is quite well sustained now. The guys are doing really well out there be it Pujara, Ajinkya, Rahul or myself. We all are doing a bit of practice, taking a couple of catches. We don’t have as much number of slips here as we had in England but the boys are willing to do the job for the team,” he said.
Talking about teenage sensation Prithvi Shaw, he said that it is too early to compare him with anyone. “You have to give the youngster the space. This guy is supremely talented. He has great abilities. We think he definitely has what it takes to play at the highest level. He has shown that in his first game already. We believe that he can keep repeating it because he is a very keen learner and understands situations really well. We all are very happy for him but I think we should not compare him to anyone yet. He just needs to enjoy his game and grow into the cricketer we all are looking forward to,” Kohli said.
Speaking of youngsters such as Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw Kohli said exposure to international cricket at a young age has made them fearless. “It
is definitely one of the reasons because they play in an environment which an international match would replicate to. However, there is always pressure when you wear that jersey and cap for the first time and play for your country. There’s always butterflies in the stomach and there is pressure but it is generally lesser as compared to 10-15 years back when you had no exposure to international cricket. They might be eager to perform at the international stage but they are not overwhelmed by it. It is good because the guys coming in will be fearless and it will be easy for them to do the job for the team,” he said.
Kohli also feels the spin department is not an area of concern. “The spinners who have revolutions on the ball are best suited for overseas conditions. Someone like Moen (Ali) who bowls with a quick pace is hard to pick. Ashwin bowled beautifully in England. He bowled quicker than he used to, something that he has added to his game. Jadeja obviously is the bowler who always has a plan in his mind. They are the bowlers who have performed for us in any conditions. They have worked on the areas where they had issues. Overall, we don’t have any problem in the spin department.”
However, the captain is not taking things for granted and knows that the opposition will try to come harder at them. “They will try and come back stronger at us. It’s a two match series and you don’t have much room, so we are aware of the fact that they will come hard at us. We simply have to be at the top of our game and play sensible cricket,” he said.
Kohli also felt that the quality of the SG Test ball has been degraded recently. “The ball getting scuffed in the 5th over of the match is not what we usually see on an SG ball. The quality of the ball used to be quite high. I don’t understand why it has gone down. Dukes and Kookaburra still have better quality. I personally feel Dukes balls are best suited for Test matches. I think the quality of the ball should be maintained because it becomes really difficult for the bowlers to bowl once it becomes soft in less number of overs. The bowlers need to put extra effort.”