Asked for bouncy wickets keeping SA tour in mind: Kohli

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Nagpur,   A candid India skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday admitted that he had asked for bouncy wickets for the home series against Sri Lanka keeping in mind the more tougher tour to South Africa in January.

“Yes (I had), because unfortunately we get only two days before we fly to South Africa after this series gets over. So we have no choice but try to be in a game situation and think of what’s coming ahead of us.

“Had we got a month off ideally, we would have done a proper preparation in a camp sort of scenario but we have to sort of make do with what we have,” Kohli told reporters during the pre-match press conference ahead of the second Test against the islanders starting on Friday.

India drew with the tourists in the first rubber at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

India will finish their limited overs matches against Sri Lanka on December 24 (final T20I) before they fly off to South Africa on December 28.

“As usual cramped for time, which I think we needed to assess in future as well because we very easily assess the team when we go abroad but we don’t look at how many days we have got to prepare before we go to a particular place to play,” Kohli said.

“And everyone starts judging players when results come after Test matches. It should be a fair game, where we get to prepare the way we want to and then we are entitled to be criticised. So we thought this is an ample opportunity for us to challenge ourselves, put us in a situation (which they expect to encounter in South Africa),” he added.

Kohli also dropped hints that the spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja might start against the Proteas as team balance would be kept in mind first.

“I can’t commit to that 100 percent when we play abroad that we will be playing with two spinners, to be honest.

“It is because we need to have a look at the balance of the side as well. Obviously, those two guys with their batting abilities are both contenders to start a Test match depending upon the batsmen we are up against in the opposition,” the skipper said.

“It’s very important to understand if a left-arm spinner is bowling to five right-handers or the off-spinner is bowling to four left-handers. Just because of the angle the ball coming in makes so much difference against a spinner.

“And it can turn away from you at some stage in the Test match. Those are very minor factors that you assess before picking the first spinner in overseas conditions,” the 29-year-old explained.

The tweakers have taken more than 100 wickets at Jamtha since the first Test played here in 2008 but those factors won’t be taken into account when he decides on the playing XI for Friday.

“That won’t matter because, obviously you have to look at what you are playing at, what kind of wicket you are playing on and pick the team accordingly. I don’t think the past record should matter a lot because you can see totally different wickets at venues when you play at different times.

“For example, the Ashes Test match going on right now doesn’t seem to be the usual Gabba wicket that we see with a lot of pace, bounce and carry. So, it all depends on what you are playing on and then select the team accordingly,” Kohli said about the opening Ashes Test being played at Adelaide in Australia.