'It's fair to play England on rank turners'

Pietersen will be under a lot of pressure, feels in-form Kohli

'It's fair to play England on rank turners'

England’s discomfort against spin bowling is no secret and Virat Kohli rubbed it further, saying the hosts will not shy away from exploiting the touring side’s weakness on the rank turners in the four-match Test series that begins in Ahmedabad from November 15.   

The Indians had a disastrous tour of England last year where they not only lost the Test series 0-4 on seaming wickets but also conceded their No 1 ranking to the homeside. The tour also triggered the start of a woeful stretch of eight successive overseas losses, which has been the lowest point for India in the recent years.

With England themselves a struggling unit this year, losing their No 1 Test status and also former captain Andrew Strauss to retirement post their 0-3 loss to Pakistan in Dubai, Kohli warned they will be getting a taste of their own music in India.

“We were given the flattest of wickets in Australia and England to practice, and when we went into the middle, we were given green tops that were seaming around for the first two hours. So if the teams can have tactics like that, then why not prepare# rank turners in India,” Kohli said after a practice session with Delhi Ranji Team at Ferozeshah Kotla.

“If you want to be fair, then why not give the same kind of wickets in practice as well, so that a team can prepare properly. We are going to exploit the conditions to our advantage as much as we can. So, I think it is all about testing the other team as well and see how good they are and where they stand.”

England, keen to break their 27 year jinx in India, have been boosted by the return of a contrite Kevin Pietersen, who is best among the pack against the spinners.
Kohli, however, felt Pietersen will find himself under “a lot of pressure”.

“I think KP (Pietersen) coming into the side is a big plus for them, but I think he is going to be under a lot of pressure knowing that the guys have not played spin well for a while and he is going to be the one against whom the team will revolve. If the wicket spins, then with the quality spinners we have, playing under that sort of pressure will be challenging for him and his team as well. “

While the 23-year-old is enjoying his fine run, he is keen to rustle up some runs against Uttar Pradesh in Delhi’s Ranji Trophy opener on November 2 and acclimatise himself to the longer format.

“I have been playing Twenty20 cricket since the last month and a half and I need to get back to the Test mode. It is not easy. I experienced it during the New Zealand tour where I came back from the ODI series. During the Hyderabad Test, there were occasions where I could not stop the bat and paid a price for it,” he said.

In the absence of stalwarts Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, Kohli is aware of the need to shore up the responsibility. “In Test matches your role changes anyhow. Now that two of our best batsmen have retired, it puts the responsibility on us guys to play that role pretty early in our career. I personally relish this opportunity of holding the batting together with other batsmen.”

Kohli also stoutly defended his team’s jaded overseas performance as well his skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

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