Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team are on the cusp of securing their first-ever Test series win in Australia. Heading into the final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, India are leading 2-1 and a draw will be enough for them to create history. It will be fitting that India has a chance to create history at this venue, for it was in the same place four years ago that a new chapter in Indian cricket history was written. Kohli did not miss out on the significance that the team had a chance of creating something special ahead of the Test match.
“It's only been four years (since I have been a captain). If it happens, it's great because I have come here the third time on a Test tour and I know how difficult it is to win here. At times, you can put in a good performance in Australia but to win as a team has been the biggest challenge for us. Individual performances, honestly, are something that you don't even remember in the last two tours,” Kohli said in the pre-match press conference.
In the 2015 Sydney Test, the series was already lost, MS Dhoni had shocked the world by announcing his retirement from the longest format of the game and India were in the bottom half of the Test rankings. Kohli was appointed as the captain and he responded with his fourth century in the series where he smashed 692 runs at an average of 86. Although India drew the Test, Kohli believed that the transition of India’s fortunes began in Sydney. At that time, India were in seventh position and now, they come back to the venue as the top-ranked Test side in the world.
“You might have your name up on the honours board but if your team doesn't win, it doesn't really matter. Till now it would definitely be a big, big series' win, not just for me, but also for the whole team purely because of the fact that this is place where we started our transition to be honest. At this particular venue when Dhoni gave up captaincy (2014) and we had a totally young side starting at six or seven (Test ranking) in the world. We have come back here as the number one side in the world, and we want to take that legacy forward,” Kohli said.
Heading in right direction
India have won two Tests in a series Down Under for the first time since 1977/78 and they will be bidding to go one better. Kohli believes victory in Adelaide and Melbourne have put the team in the right direction.
“It's got nothing to do with proving that we want to do something that has never been done in the past. Every (Indian) team that comes here wants to win, obviously. I am sure that they would have had the same intention but the motivation has never been to change history. Not necessarily proving something to someone or changing history. It's just crossing a hurdle and making yourself believe that you are good enough to be at this level and beat any team anywhere in the world. Victory in MCG has just solidified the belief we had as a team that you're heading in the right direction,” Kohli said.
A win in Sydney will not only give India a historic series win, it will also make Kohli the most successful Indian captain overseas.