Encouraged by his team’s stellar performance in South Africa at the start of the year, Indian skipper Virat Kohli says the players are looking forward to play 'difficult cricket' against England. Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri were speaking to the media ahead of their departure to Ireland, where the team is scheduled to play two T20Is before heading off to England, where they will feature in three T20Is, three ODIs and five Tests.
"After what happened in South Africa, we are actually looking forward to some tough cricket,” Kohli said. “When we were playing the Test series in South Africa and lost the first two matches, people thought we were outplayed. Then we won the third Test and won the two series after that (ODI & T20I). Then they realised how well we played. We are looking forward to going to other countries and playing well. We are looking forward to playing difficult cricket.”
"Our endeavour remains the same in every series,” Shastri added. “We don’t change strategy looking at who we are playing against. We like to stick to our basics and look to improve our game. Our aim is to strive for consistency. We played good cricket in South Africa our aim will be to repeat that kind of consistency in England."
Kohli was all set to play County Cricket for Surrey in June to get a taste of English conditions before the start of the tour. However, a back injury ruled him out of the stint. Kohli, though, insists he the lack of practice won’t be hindrance in a country where he encountered a wretched run in 2011 when he managed just 134 runs in 10 innings at a dismal average of 13.40.
"In hindsight, I think what has happened (missing the county stint) was the best thing that could have happened to me,” he said. “Yes, I wanted to go and experience the conditions as we haven’t played a lot in English conditions. There have been a gap of four years and you sort of forget what the condition was the last time you played there.
“I wanted to experience the damp conditions in which Puraja, Ishant and Varun played in. In hindsight, how I look at it is that if I were 90% fit and used to the conditions in comparison to feeling 110% and going in fresh — I would much rather be in this position."
Shastri also added that travelling early to England — a luxury that they weren't afforded before the start of the South Africa series – will work to the side’s advantage.
"As far as preparations are concerned, it (going for the tour early) is ideal,” he said. “We are playing against Ireland on June 27 and we are playing the first Test is on August 1, so there is lot of time (to prepare).
“For us there is no away, every game is home game because we don't play the opponent, we play the pitch. Our job is to conquer the pitch. Wherever we go - it could be Bombay, it could be Delhi, it could be London, it could be Johannesburg. It is 22 yards that we have to try and conquer, and that is the endeavour.
“The boys know that they will be rated if they adapt to different conditions. So, if the other team has to adapt to those conditions, so do we. It's not a question of where you're playing, for us every game has to be a home game. You see those 22 yards, you say, 'how am I going to take 20 wickets on those 22 yards, and how am I going to score 350-400. Keep it simple."