Our duty is to give our 100 percent, says Virat Kohli ahead of South Africa tour

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BCCI

Our duty is to give our 100 percent, says Virat Kohli ahead of South Africa tour

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SportsCafe Desk

12/28/2017

Virat Kohli has seemed positive ahead of the South Africa tour and stated that the team’s job is to give 100 percent effort in the series. He has also tried to remove the created hype from the critics and fans as he cleared that the Indian cricket team doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone.

Under Kohli's captaincy, Team India have been playing some exceptional cricket in all the formats of the game. In the last away series against Sri Lanka, India inflicted a 9-0 whitewash across all three formats - three Tests, five ODIs, and one T20I. It was followed by success against Australia and New Zealand at home in the limited-overs format and they again emerged victorious against Sri Lanka in the home series. Now, Team India’s next challenge is the South Africa tour where India failed to win a single Test series in the past 25 years.

"We have got rid of all the mental pressures of touring abroad and wanting to prove to people. We are not wanting to prove anything to anyone and our duty is to go out there, give our 100 percent effort for the country and get the result that we want to," Kohli said at the pre-departure press conference of the Indian team on Wednesday as quoted by PTI.

"We need to be realistic with what we are doing and that the only way we will be staying in the present and execute the things we want to. We are going there to just play cricket and it does not matter whether we are in South Africa, Australia, England or India. When you do things in conditions that are more challenging, that gives you more job satisfaction, that is for sure," the skipper added.

Kohli has led India in 32 Tests so far, 31 since taking over officially from MS Dhoni in January 2015. Since that tour of Australia, India haven’t played abroad apart from in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (2015), the Caribbean (2016) and Sri Lanka (2017). That makes the tour of South Africa Kohli’s first big overseas assignment in charge and the batting unit, especially, will be in the firing line against the South African pace battery. But Kohli believes that mindset is important in resurrecting the perception of the Indian team.

"It all depends on the kind of mindset you get into as batsman. Any place, even Indian conditions can be very difficult if you are not in a good frame of mind, so cricket is played with ball and bat and if you are not there mentally, it does not matter the conditions you are playing in.

"You need to take up challenges mentally and then every conditions seem like home conditions. If you get accustomed to where you are going and you start feeling comfortable embracing the culture, people, it becomes easier," he explained.

In South Africa, Virat played two Tests in 2013 where he scored 272 runs at an average of 68.00 including one century and one fifty. Apart from the skipper, Ajinkya Rahane had also played two Tests scoring 209 runs including two half-centuries while Cheteshwar Pujara has more experience in comparison to both as he played four Tests and in seven innings, he managed to score 311 runs at an average of 44.42.

"I only played Test cricket once in South Africa but I was looking forward to it. (Cheteshwar) Pujara was as well, so was Jinks (Ajinkya Rahane). So we ended up doing well because we were excited about what we were going to do and that excitement is very important to maintain."

Under Kohli’s guidance, Team India will be on verge of creating a history of becoming the first team who win ten consecutive Test series. During the series against Sri Lanka, they equalize with Australia who hold the record of nine consecutive Test series wins. Kohli admitted that they haven’t a lot outside the sub-continent region but believed that the current crop will perform well.

"We are talking about a wholly different prospect over here, which we understand as a team and we are looking forward to it. Every tour is a chance, if you look at the teams which have gone to South Africa in the past, I mean you are talking about some of the biggest names in Indian cricket, it's not like that was not like a chance," Kohli sounded cautiously optimistic.

"You need to play really good cricket for a very long period of time to win series and that is something that we are pretty excited about and we want to go out there and express ourselves. The most important thing is that we are enjoying each other's company and that's exactly what we are looking to do," Kohli added.

Last time when India visited South Africa in 2013, the South African pace attack was led by Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel and the hosts won the two-Test match series by 1-0. However, the hosts are more settled than ever this time around having players like Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander in their ranks.  

"The bowling attack back then compared to now what South Africa has was more experienced and we did really well against them. We almost won the Test in Jo'burg (Johannesburg), it was a close game, we lost in Durban, but we played some really good Test cricket.

"The bowling and the batting has come a long way, all the guys are much more experienced now, but the hunger remains the same, we still want to go back and try to do what we couldn't do last time around," he concluded.

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