Respect the way AB plays, but it's all about getting him out, says Virat Kohli

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Respect the way AB plays, but it's all about getting him out, says Virat Kohli

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SportsCafe Desk


Virat Kohli has clarified that his camaraderie with AB de Villiers will not be visible on the field as he will employ all his resources to get him out as quick as possible. The Indian skipper has also stated that the team has the confidence that they can win the matches in South Africa.

Ahead of the South Africa-India series, AB de Villiers brought an end to his sabbatical from Test cricket and returned to lead the side against Zimbabwe in the first ever four-day Test due to the absence of regular skipper Faf du Plessis. AB’s return to Test cricket also meant that it has become the most anticipated match-up between the Indian and South African team ahead of the full-fledged series that starts on January 5 in Cape Town. The duo, Kohli and de Villiers, have been long-time team-mates at Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL and great mates off the field, but Kohli confirmed that their bonhomie will be replaced by fiery competitiveness during the series.

"AB is a great friend of mine. I respect the way he plays the game and I have always respected him as a person. When we are playing against each other - not that we cross the line with each other, we are just not like that with each other, we can't - but it's about wanting to get AB out. And I'm sure the opposition want the same when I play or when [Ajinkya] Rahane plays or [Cheteshwar] Pujara plays," Kohli said on Saturday after the team’s training session in Cape Town.

Even though the “Kohli-de Villiers match-up” might take the prime spot in numerous media outlets, Kohli played down that and stated that the result of the series would be dependent on a collective effort. 

"Everyone wants to be the stand-out player in the series and make contributions towards the team winning the series but unless you have that as a group, you don't have many chances of winning the series. Some people might have brilliant individual performances but then you will always be fine with one or two people doing well. Right now with the kind of hunger we have in the group, everyone wants an opportunity. That's a very exciting thing.

"I can't speak for the opposition because AB hasn't played much Test cricket since he played against us and he is coming back after a while. Setting apart all of the spice created from the outside about the series, the team that plays well together has the best chance of winning."

India will begin 2018 in pursuit of a historic maiden Test series win in South Africa. Earlier, India have lost five of the six previous series they have played in the African nation, with the best result being a 1-1 draw in 2010-11. However, the Indian skipper stated that history would not be a factor in the series and was confident the team’s balance would help them in the series.

“The kind of bowling attack and balance we have now, we definitely believe we can win here. There’s no two ways about it. If we didn’t have that mindset, there’s no point of getting on that flight as well. We have come here wanting to express ourselves and believing in our abilities, knowing that we have the right balance to win Tests in any conditions.

“This is an opportunity to play good cricket. We’re not thinking about whether playing in South Africa or any other country. For us it’s about being in the present, winning sessions and executing our skills and not looking at the history on what happened in the country that we play at. You might have a great record in the country but if you’re not well prepared, you’re going to end up losing. So I think international cricket is all about being in the present and trying to do things better than the opposition at all times,” the skipper added.

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