Almost every Test match India plays at home doesn’t pass off without questions being raised about the pitch. With Eden Gardens rolling out a fresh deck, it was the first poser for Virat Kohli and the skipper said he's got the personnel who can win on any track.
“No comments on the wicket for now,” said Kohli at the pre-match press conference on Thursday. “We’ve got all the bases covered as far the team is concerned. It looks like a normal wicket that we expect at Eden Gardens. The surface is pretty nice, it has a little bit of grass covering. It should be a good wicket to bat on.
“As a home side if we feel we are able to put big runs on the board, that obviously puts pressure on the opposition regardless of the wicket we are playing on. I felt that even in the last game we had a chance of getting 400-plus, but we didn’t capitalise. So those are the things we want to correct. Once you have a big score on the board, the opposition feels they have to work that extra bit or bat a session and a half more than they would like to. That gives you an advantage in the game.”
Ravichandran Ashwin — suffering from a corn in the middle finger of his bowling arm — didn’t bowl a single ball at the nets and with Jayant Yadav called up as cover, there was plenty of speculation whether Ashwin will play. Kohli said his premier bowler is fit.
“Ashwin is absolutely fine. Jayant is not there as a cover. Ishant (Sharma) would have started the first game had he been fit. We have three quicks already and we felt we don't need anymore. We thought of adding another off-spinner because they have five left-handers in their line-up. (New Zealand actually have four left-handers with one of them being a tail-ender).
“This would help at some stage we plan to play three spinners. Maybe two off-spinners could play together. That was the whole idea of bringing in another guy who can bowl at left-handers. Left-arm spinner we have, leg-spinner we have, so someone along with Ashwin would do the same job in case we require two of these against the five left-handers.”
Kohli also said they are confident of countering New Zealand in case the Kiwis turn up with a changed approach. “In the first game they had some good partnerships and you just have to sit back and appreciate that. We have to come up with a plan. I think Test cricket is all about coming back from situations rather than being on top all the time. We expect them to play really good cricket but we expect to bounce back and pull things back if things go their way. We feel that we are skilled enough to tackle any plans they come with.”