Cape Town

Kohli not happy with practice wickets in Cape Town, Dhawan skips training

[caption id="attachment_60823" align="alignnone" width="580"]DSC07871 Indian captain Virat Kohli at the Western Province Cricket Club on Saturday. Image Source: Xtra Time[/caption]

Debasis Sen, Cape Town: One of the many good qualities of Indian captain Virat Kohli is he is one guy who always speaks his heart. Talking to local scribes in his first press conference at the Western Province Cricket Club on Saturday, Kohli blatantly admitted he is not happy with the practice wickets being provided ahead of the test series. According to Kohli, “If you look at the wicket we are playing on right now, it’s not even going to be 15% of what we will get in the game.”

The Indian captain was referring to the team management’s decision to skip the two days practice game.

“We understand that. There is no point wasting two days, guys going in, scoring quick fifties and coming out. We would rather have them do two sessions like today, get into the Test match zone and and test ourselves. We can try and prepare the wickets the way you want to. But if you are playing a two-day game there is no chance of changing the wicket at different times of the day. Here we have more freedom to put more water on the wicket, roll it, make it harder come tomorrow’s practice session and you have conditions you want. You are never sure whether you are getting quality practice games or not. We would rather have practice sessions that is in our control.”

Apart from the concerns surrounding the wickets, another worry for the team management is the fitness of opener Shikhar Dhawan. Though he accompanied the team to the ground, but did not take the field.

The Indians had their first official training session after reaching Cape Town day before yesterday. It was back to cricket training for India captain Virat Kohli after his wedding with Anushka Sharma recently. Kohli and the Indian team trained at the picturesque Western Province Cricket Club.

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The practice was divided into two sessions. Although there were three nets for the Indians, but the team could practice in only two as one of the wickets was a bit damp. The cricketers took part in a match simulation practice. The batsmen batted in pairs against the set of three bowlers. Murali Vijay and KL Rahul batted first in the absence of Dhawan. Fast bowlers Shami, Hardik Pandya bent their backs at the start followed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav. Next to bat at the nets was the Indian captain himself with Cheteswar Pujara.

Out of form Ajinkya Rahane was given special practice with tennis balls at the practice nets. For India to do well in the series a lot will depend on Rahane’s form with the bat.

The New Year poses a big challenge for Kohli and his men as they will play all the test series abroad. They enjoyed a highly successful 2017 at home, dominating teams in Tests and limited-overs formats.

India has never won a Test series in South Africa and many experts have backed Kohli's men to create history in the three-match rubber.

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