Rahul Dravid has said that Virat Kohli has been phenomenal in terms of his preparation and training ahead of the second Test in spite of all the noise around him. Dravid also backed out of form batsmen in the team saying they will convert their starts into a big score and it’s just a matter of time.
India started the Test series against South Africa very well winning the first fixture in Centurion. The bowling unit was phenomenal while KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal played crucial knocks with the bat. However, Virat Kohli has been struggling with his form lately. The Test captain is getting the starts but he is repeatedly getting dismissed on deliveries wide outside off stump.
Also, the contradictory statements from BCCI and Kohli regarding the latter’s sacking from ODI captaincy has erupted a controversy. India head coach Rahul Dravid has praised Kohli for his dedication saying that he has been phenomenal in terms of preparation and training over the last 20 days in spite of all the noise around him.
"Virat has been phenomenal over the last 20 days. The way he has trained and prepared, the way he has connected with the group has been fantastic inspite of all the noise around him," Dravid said in the pre-match press conference.
The form of India’s batting unit, especially middle order is a worrying sign for the team. Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are all getting starts but haven’t been unable to convert them into a big score. Rahane scored 48 and 20 in Centurion while Pujara scored 0 and 16 in the two innings. Dravid backed the batsmen saying that they will convert the starts and it’s just a matter of time.
"You feel you're batting well but big scores don't come. Happens to everyone. The good point is they seem to be batting well, getting start and they know to convert. It's just a matter of time. They are in good space," he stated.
"It's not a question about being worried. It's about recognising as a batsman that, look, (as) a middle-order player, it is sometimes tough to bat and is not easy to bat in these conditions. But when you do get set, it's really nice if one of your top 3 or top 4 can convert that to a big score."
"We saw the value of that in Rahul's 100."
Pujara has been struggling to end his century drought as his last hundred came against Australia in 2019. He scored 702 runs in 14 Tests at an average of 28.08 last year. Dravid backed Pujara saying that he is doing the best he can.
"He is doing the best he can. Certainly he'd like to score more. It's not about being worried, it is about the position he bats which is a bit tough. When Pujara scores big, India wins," he explained.
The second Test of the series is to be played in Johannesburg and India will look to ensure a series win with a victory in the fixture. Dravid opined that the batting might get tougher on the pitch as the game progresses.
“Haven't looked much at the weather. The pitch looks good. Typical Wanderers wicket, might flatten out a bit. Batting could get tough towards the end. Generally a result wicket at the Wanderers," he concluded.
"It's a quicker pitch but maybe the bounce is not as it has been at Centurion. Generally weathers at Wanderers holds five days."