When it came to overseas tours, the blueprint for teams to topple India was to prepare green, bouncy wickets that would assist a lot of seam and swing. However, the Indian cricket team under Virat Kohli is a different beast altogether. Not only are they not scared of green decks, they turn the tables on the opposition thanks to the current pace bowling line-up. Speaking ahead of the second Test against Australia at the new Perth stadium, Kohli was excited at the prospect of a bouncy and green Perth wicket and hoped that Australia would not shave off the grass on the wicket ahead of the match.
“We certainly get more excited than nervous looking at lively pitches. We understand that we have a bowling attack that can bowl out the opposition now. I hope no more grass is taken off it. We as a team are pretty happy with that. We just have to challenge ourselves as a batting unit and play positively, backing the bowlers to do what they did at Adelaide as well. I think this pitch is going to offer significantly more than it did at Adelaide. That is something we are very excited about,” Kohli said.
India’s most famous wins overseas have come on green and difficult wickets. In the 2014 Lord’s Test, the pitch was absolutely green but Ajinkya Rahane’s century and Ishant Sharma’s 7/74 helped India win a Test at the Mecca of cricket after 28 years. In the 2018 Johannesburg Test, India salvaged some pride on a wicket that assisted the fast bowlers. Kohli added that the Johannesburg deck was the most difficult one he had faced in his entire career.
“I have played all around the world for 10 years now and I have never played on a wicket like the one at Johannesburg to be honest. I have played at Perth as well in 2012 but was not even close to what Johannesburg was. We are not alien to pitches like these and this is nothing new for us. We know what to expect on a pitch like this. On a lively wicket where there is grass on the pitch and the surface being hard, you are as much as in the game as the opposition,” Kohli added.
Before the start of the Perth Test, India bowling coach Bharat Arun said the current line-up of fast bowlers was the ‘best ever’ the country had and Kohli said he was lucky to captain a side where then fast bowlers are operating at their peak.
“It is just that these five have come into their own when I was the captain. So I am not going to sit here and take credit for unleashing someone. If you don't get 20 wickets you don't win a Test match, regardless of whether you scored 600 or 700 or 800. It is insignificant. If you get 300 on the board and you have guys who can get 20 wickets then you are fine as a team. The way they have bowled in the last three tours, it is amazing. They are hungry for wickets and are not giving easy runs,” Kohli said.
India are currently leading the four-match series 1-0 following their win in Adelaide and they will be determined to win the Perth Test and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.