India has to be consistent to be best Test team: Kohli
Port of Spain (Trinidad), Aug 18 (IANS) India’s Test skipper Virat Kohli has said his team isn’t too excited on regaining the No.1 position in the rankings, pointing out the need to perform consistently for three to four years to claim that position.
India have returned to No.1 spot in the longest format of the game replacing Australia who suffered a 0-3 whitewash at the hands of hosts Sri Lanka in Colombo on Wednesday.
To retain the top ranking, India will now have to win the fourth and final Test of the four-match series against the West Indies, which begins here on Thursday.
India registered a 237-run win in the third Test and took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series, after winning the first Test by an innings and 92 runs, the second ending in a draw.
“Even last year, when we beat South Africa, because of some other team losing, we became number one for a brief period. To really become the best team in the world you need to play consistent cricket for a span of 3-4 years. This is a pretty immediate and short-term incentive,” Kohli told reporters here on Wednesday.
“It’s a nice incentive but it doesn’t really change anything for the team. Our goal has been to play good cricket and we’ve done that in the past year or so. And we want to continue with the same.”
“You have to play sustained cricket for a good period of time to be the best team in the world. We have played good cricket that’s why we have climbed up the rankings, but if you see we have played lesser number of games than the other teams,” he added.
“It’s only after we play a good number of games that we can be judged. We’ve played good cricket but I think only at the end of the season can we look back how we have played and then figure out where we stand.”
With the team’s batting clicking in the previous three matches, the Anil Kumble-coached side is unlikely to make big changes in the line-up.
With opener Murali Vijay fit after a thumb injury, Shikhar Dhawan may be dropped for the final match to make way for him. Dhawan has hardly scored much except for his 84 in the first match.
But with Lokesh Rahul in good form, scoring a century and a 50 in two Tests, Kohli might stick to the right-handed batsman for the final match. Besides Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane would also hold his place after handy knocks.
“If the wickets are drastically changing from one venue to the other, you will see a change here and there, especially with one bowler playing in front of the other. As far as the pool goes, we have a very good squad here,” the Delhi-born skipper said.
“The stand-by players we have back home have the skill-set as well. Everyone has been briefed about the roles they have to play. We have players who are ready accordingly.”
“One or two spots obviously will be available. But we can’t make too many changes in one series. And with a long season coming up, we are playing games at home too. So we want players to know that they are in the starting 11 so that they can prepare accordingly. We have done that pretty well in the last year-and-a-half,” the 27-year-old added.
Speaking about the nature of pitch for the final match, the skipper said, “I had a look at the pitch yesterday (on Tuesday). There were a few damp spots. The covers came on very quickly today (on Wednesday) so I don’t know how much that has dried up. We would name a few more than the 11 tonight before taking a call on what would be the best combination in the morning.”