Result-oriented wickets required in Test cricket: Kohli

Bengaluru, Nov 13 (IANS) The Mohali pitch has come in for a lot of critcism after the opening cricket Test against South Africa, but India skipper Virat Kohli asserted on Friday that it were result-oriented wickets that drew crowds to the ground.

The first match of the ongoing four-Test series was played on a rank turner which saw the Indians win by 109 runs within three days after dismissing the Proteas for 108 in the second innings.

“We should be delighted that we are getting result-oriented wickets because then you will have more people coming in to watch Test matches rather than you know criticising the pitches and saying it is not fair,” Kohli told reporters on the eve of the second Test here.

“The fact of the matter is we won a Test match and that’s what we feel good about as a team. We are not worried about any external factors or what’s being discussed. We won a game of cricket. We are very happy about it,” he added.

The Mohali Test did not see too many spectators turning up at the ground. But Kohli pointed out that crowds and other external factors does not affect the on-field action since the players are totally focussed on the game.

“It doesn’t really make us sad that we won’t have so many people turning up to watch this Test match. Obviously, you like playing in front of full stadiums and full crowds but eventually you are focusing on the ball that is bowled to you and as a bowler you are focusing on the ball that you have to bowl.

“We hope we get more number of people to watch this Test match because it is an exciting series, it is between two exciting and very strong teams,” he remarked.

“In a Test match, we are focussed on bowling and batting unmindful of how many people are watching from the stands.”

The Chinnaswamy Stadium is like second home for Kohli since he plays for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The 27-year-old admitted that his familiarity with the local conditions will prove to be a big advantage.

“There is a home advantage. Being familiar with the ground, pitch and playing conditions is an advantage as there will be helpful inputs,” Kohli said.

Praising top order batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay for their performance in the comprehensive win in the first Test, Kohli urged the rest of the line-up to improve upon their showing in Mohali.

“We all are very proud of the way both of them batted in the last game. Our batsmen did not apply themselves as much as we wanted to and we are aware of that. We can learn a lot from them in the way both of them applied themselves. Their contributions in both the innings were very crucial to us,” the Indian skipper said.

Kohli also praised rookie all-rounder Gurkeerat Singh Mann, asserting that the Punjab lad has a bright future in the senior national team.

“He has earned his call-up. He certainly fits in scheme of things and don’t be surprised if you see him playing soon. I can’t put a particular time, when but he can bat at the No.6 or No.7 position. He is a very dangerous, instinctive player, who can take the game away from opposition,” he said.

“He is also bowling well but he is primarily a batsman. He is working very hard on his bowling. These type of cricketers bring balance that is very important to the team’s cause as we will be playing a lot of Test matches in the sub-continent in next year and half.

“It will be very important for us to have guys like Gurkeerat, who can provide the balance for us as Stuart (Binny) did it in Sri Lanka. Their contribution with the bat and then coming to bowl getting a couple of wickets is very important to us,” he added.

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