Winning session will be key at Centurion, says Kohli

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Indian cricket team in a practice session at Super Sport Park. Image Source: XtraTime

Debasis Sen, Centurion: India will face South Africa in a do or die match in the second Test at Centurion as a loss here would mean that the World No.1 side will lose the series. Ahead of the crucial encounter India skipper Virat Kohli hinted that there might be changes in the playing XI.

“As far as the opening combination goes, we will decide today at the end of practice what is it that we are going to go within this game. We might do something different also but there is definitely no need to panic,” Kohli said on the eve of the second Test in Centurion.

The visitors lost most of the sessions at Newlands, Cape Town which is a cause of concerns for Virat Kohli & Co. The India skipper feels that his team needs to win sessions at Centurion which would help them to win the match and level the series.

According to Kohli the Centurion wicket has ample pace and bounce, but it doesn’t have much green grass like it was in Cape Town in the first Test.

“It looks likely a really lively pitch. It is exactly what we expected it to be and we actually wanted it to be that way so that both teams are into the contest provided they play some good cricket. This pitch will again test us to play our best cricket and that is something that we are looking forward to do,” said Virat.

Kohli also took a dig at the critics who were questioning about the exclusion of Ajinkya Rahane in the first Test against South Africa.

“It’s funny how things change in a matter of weeks, or just about five days. Before the first Test no-one thought that he should be in the eleven and now suddenly people are looking at the other option,” Kohli said on the eve of the second Test in Centurion.

“For us as a team, it’s all about finding the right balance. If players fit in in the kind of balance we want to go in with as a side, then they will fit in. We certainly don’t go on opinions that are created outside, and talk of the town and all those sort of things,” Kohli said.

“He (Rahane) is a quality player. He has done well in South Africa, in all conditions actually away from home. He is probably been our most consistent and solid player away from home,” the skipper said.

He further added that Rohit Sharma was selected in the playing XI because of his current form.

“I explained the reasons why Rohit Sharma started ahead of him. I am not saying that Ajinkya cannot or will not start in this game. Possibilities are all open at the moment and we shall decide after practice.”

The skipper further urged to his batsmen about not get surprised by the bounce.

“We must not get surprised by the bounce here. We have to maintain composure when you get sudden change of bounce, which you experience in South Africa. Here the bounce can be steep from length also. You need to mentally tune yourself to these things and accept that it is going to be a major part of batting in South Africa.”

Though the Indian batting line-up did a lot of mistake in the first Test but according to Kohli they are in much better shape in this game.

“I feel that definitely the batting order, through mistakes we committed in the first game and through the experience we gained in the first game, we are certainly in a much better shape to come at their bowling attack in this Test,” he added.

Virat feels that the team’s batsmen shouldn’t be panicked with one poor show.

“I don’t think we need to panic because of collapses. Whether we are playing five batsmen or six, you still need to apply yourself.

“It doesn’t mean that if you are playing six batters, you can afford to go out and play loose shots. You still need to have a solid technique and go out there and be ready to face spells, which are going to be difficult. We need to embrace that,” explained Kohli.

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