Virat Kohli's Indian cricket team are miles ahead in the ICC World Test Championships. (Photo Credit: PTI)
Virat Kohli has enjoyed a record-breaking time in the series against South Africa. His 254 in the Pune Test shattered plenty of records while as captain, he became the first Indian skipper to achieve a 3-0 whitewash of South Africa. His tally of wins has now reached 30 and he is on course to achieve plenty of other records. However, the series against South Africa has been marred by poor attendances in venues like Ranchi and Pune. Only the Vizag Test saw good attendances and there is a growing debate regarding the popularity of Test cricket in places outside of major cities in India.
Speaking after the end of the match, Kohli gave a different perspective as to how sparse crowd attendances in India can be arrested. "In my opinion, we should have 5 strong Test centres. In Test cricket, teams coming into India should know that they are going to play at these 5 centres, these are the pitches and crowds to expect. It can't be sporadic and spread over so many places. We should have five strong Test centres where the team coming to India knows that this is where we're going to play and nowhere else," Kohli stated.
The Indian skipper was going on the lines of how Australia and England play Tests at certain core venues. In Australia, Tests are held in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney on a consistent basis along with Hobart. The Melbourne and Sydney Tests are advertised as the Boxing Day and New Year Tests respectively and there is a great crowd attendances for both the Tests. In England, venues like Edgbaston, Trent Bridge, The Oval, Lord's, Leeds, Old Trafford and to a certain extent Southampton host Tests.
He stressed that with the BCCI policy of rotating Test venues, it works fine for Twenty20 Internationals and ODIs but for Tests, there should be some core centres. "I agree that you have state associations, rotation and giving games and all that. That is fine in T20 and ODI cricket, but for Test cricket teams coming into India should know we are going to play at these five centres. These are the pitches we're going to expect. These are the kind of people they're going to come to watch," Kohli stressed.
Kohli hailed the mindset of the current Indian team and said they have the belief to win everywhere despite some inexperience in the bowling line-up. "Even when we travelled away from home, we competed in every game, we wanted to win and do the difficult things. It all starts from the mind. It's amazing to see the mindset of the team, it's been a brilliant series for us. Even not with much experience, we believe we can win anywhere in the world. We can win anywhere, England, Australia, South Africa, good things are going to follow," Kohli said.
With India well ahead in the ICC World Test Championships, Kohli will be aiming to continue the winning spree when India get ready to face Bangladesh but the tour is in doubt after a strike by key players.