Virat Kohli's Team India has now held on to the No.1 Test spot for over a year    AFP
Virat Kohli’s Team India has now held on to the No.1 Test spot for over a year AFP

Though India have enjoyed stupendous success at home, the desired results have not come when they toured overseas. Ahead of the team’s departure to South Africa, captain Virat Kohli made it clear that the side has “nothing to prove to anyone”. India take on South Africa in the first Test at Cape Town, starting January 5.

India have not won a Test series in South Africa starting their first attempt in 1992-93 season. They managed to win a Test at Johannesburg in 2006-07 and later managed to draw level in 2010-11. India have won only 2 Tests in South Africa from 6 tours.

“We have got rid of all the mental pressures of touring abroad and wanting to prove to people. We are not wanting to prove anything to anyone and our duty is to go out there, give our 100 per cent effort for the country and get the result that we want to,” Kohli said at the pre-departure press conference of the Indian team.

Stressing on the importance of being realistic with results, Kohli went on to add, “We need to be realistic with what we are doing and that the only way we will be staying in the present and execute the things we want to. We are going there to just play cricket and it does not matter whether we are in South Africa, Australia, England or India.

“When you do things in conditions that are more challenging, that gives you more job satisfaction, that is for sure.”

Importance of mindset

Indian batsmen have struggled to cope up with the extra bounce that surfaces in South Africa offer. Kohli said it all depends on the mindset one gets into.

“It all depends on the kind of mindset you get into as batsman. Any place, even Indian conditions can be very difficult if you are not in a good frame of mind, so cricket is played with ball and bat and if you are not there mentally, it does not matter the conditions you are playing in.

“You need to take up challenges mentally and then every conditions seem like home conditions. If you get accustomed to where you are going and you start feeling comfortable embracing the culture, people, it becomes easier,” he explained.

This will be Kohli’s second tour to South Africa. India lost 0-1 in the 2013-15 tour, but Kohli scored a century in the thrilling Test at Johannesburg.

Virat Kohli: I was away for something which was much more important
Virat Kohli: I was away for something which was much more important

“I only played Test cricket once in South Africa but I was looking forward to it. (Cheteshwar) Pujara was as well, so was Jinks (Ajinkya Rahane). So we ended up doing well because we were excited about what we were going to do and that excitement is very important to maintain,” he added

Kohli is aware of India’s dismal show in South Africa but mentions that the side is focused and ready for the challenges.

“We are talking about a wholely different prospect over here, which we understand as a team and we are looking forward to it. Every tour is a chance, if you look at the teams which have gone to South Africa in the past, I mean you are talking about some of the biggest names in Indian cricket, it s not like that was not like a chance.

“You need to play really good cricket for a very long period of time to win series and that is something that we are pretty excited about and we want to go out there and express ourselves. The most important thing is that we are enjoying each other’s company and that’s exactly what we are looking to do,” Kohli further added.

More experienced South Africa

Kohli believes the South African side is more experienced than what they were in 2013-14. He also recalled the close Johannesburg Test in that tour.

“The bowling attack back then compared to now what South Africa has was more experienced and we did really well against them. We almost won the Test in Jo’burg (Johannesburg), it was a close game, we lost in Durban, but we played some really good Test cricket.

“The bowling and the batting has come a long way, all the guys are much more experienced now, but the hunger remains the same, we still want to go back and try to do what we couldn’t do last time around,” Kohli concluded.