Ranchi: The intent has always been honest and that precisely is the reason for the stupendous results that the Indian cricket team is currently delivering, skipper Virat Kohli said on Tuesday after a thumping 3-0 whitewash of South Africa.
India had two innings wins in three Test matches and have now won 11 successive series at home under Kohli’s leadership.
“As long as we keep working with honest intent, those things will follow. We have wanted to be the best team in Test cricket, and as long as we compete, things will work out well for us,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
The best part about the win was taking the conditions out of equation, said Kohli.
“Amazing. You guys have seen how we’re playing. Making things happen on pitches that don’t seem to offer too much, is something we’re very proud of,” the skipper said.
While spinners got 34 wickets, the pacers, in conditions which were not exactly bowler-friendly, snared 26 scalps with Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami doing bulk of the damage.
“Even when we travelled away from home, we wanted to compete. Getting into the right kind of mindset is something these guys have worked really hard to get into... To be the best side in the world, you have to be multi-dimensional,” skipper said.
“Spin was always our strength, batting was never a problem for us. Ishant (Sharma) was the only experienced bowler for us. We said we can play an extra bowler, and as batsmen we said we’ll get the job done.
“We’ve got runs in every Test match, our catching has been good too. (Goal) As I said, even without much experience, we travelled very well. We believe we can win anywhere,” the skipper added.
Haven’t spoken with Ganguly yet
Kohli said he hasn’t had any conversation with Sourav Ganguly with regards to Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s international future and believes that the BCCI’s President-elect will get in touch with him when he needs to.
Dhoni, who is on a sabbatical from international cricket, is not expected to play against Bangladesh in the upcoming T20 series.
He dropped in to meet the Indian team members and Kohli jokingly told journalists to come to the change room and say “hello” to the former skipper.
After being nominated as the BCCI’s President-elect, Ganguly had said that he would like to speak to the selectors as well as Dhoni to know what they had in mind.
“I congratulated him (Ganguly). It’s great that he has become BCCI President. But he’s not spoken to me about that (MS) yet. He will get in touch with me when he has to. I am sure I will go and meet him when he tells me to,” the Indian skipper said at the post-match press conference.
In fact, Ganguly on Monday said that he will speak to Kohli on October 24 as he believes that the decision to opt out of the Bangladesh T20 series, which starts November 3, rests with the Indian captain.
“I will meet him (Kohli) just like a BCCI president meets the Indian captain. It’s upto him to decide if he wants rest,” Ganguly told reporters.
Faf praises India’s bowlers
His counterpart Faf du Plessis also agreed that it was high quality pace bowling from India.
“I think it’s the skill of the bowlers. They have a skiddy nature and they hit the right spots and the stumps at all times. Those are the things we talked about before we came here, but naturally the length in South Africa has to be a little shorter, and that takes time to adjust,” Du Plessis said.
The fight tapered off after the first Test in Visakhapatnam and du Plessis acknowledged that his side wasn’t up to it.
“That’s the frustrating part of the tour. There were some really good signs, but it went the other way,” the Proteas skipper said when dissecting performance on the tour.
“Every Test, we made more mistakes. But we have to give credit to the Indian team. They were ruthless and they were better than us in every department - spin bowling, fast bowling, batting and even the fielding. They are a difficult team to overcome.
“The mindset after 2015 was to prepare ourselves for really spinning tracks, but it’s been the opposite. Really sporting tracks - fantastic for fast bowlers and even for batsmen. There’s a lot to learn for us,” he added.
The visiting skipper said that this is a young team which wold learn to fight its way out of trouble in adverse conditions.
“It’s important that we have some young guys, and they’ll experience this in 3-4 years ago. It was important for us to take something back again.
“We have to learn to compete the next time again. This is the toughest tour on the circuit... (India’s) 11 series wins in a row bears testament to that.”
Rohit credits Kohli and Shastri for his success
Rohit Sharma feels skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri’s belief in his abilities has helped him own the opening position in Tests, also crediting his own perseverance for the magnificent run so far.
Rohit scored 529 runs in his “debut series” as an opener with a maiden double hundred in the final Test against South Africa apart from twin hundreds (176 and 127) in Visakhapatnam. The performance earned him the man of the series award.
“The support of the coach and captain helps. I am thankful for the opportunity to the management for that opening slot,” Rohit said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
There was speculation that all was not well between Rohit and Kohli a couple of months back. Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri have already rubbished the conjecture.
Opening the batting irrespective of the format, requires a certain amount of patience and discipline, something he inculcated when he started opening in white ball cricket.
“Yeah, it’s something that started in 2013 when I started opening in white-ball cricket. I realised you need some discipline at the start of the innings. It’s a template to my batting that allows me some success to my batting,” said the ‘Hit Man’ of Indian cricket.
The stylish Mumbaikar believes that it is only his mistakes that can get him out once he has done the hard work to survive the first hour.
“I believe that I can do that for the team, and there are lots of aspects that you need to be mindful of when you’re opening. I always believe that once you are in, it is only mistakes that can get you out.
“We saw how hard it was to counter that new ball, and once you pass that stage, it’s all about how you want to pace yourself. I kept telling myself I want to be there, I want to get a big score and take my team to a good position.”