New Delhi, India (BBN)-In contrast to his predecessor MS Dhoni’s consistent public emphasis on process over results, Virat Kohli, India’s Test captain, has urged his side to start focussing on winning Test matches, instead of playing with the mindset of “learning all the time.”
Speaking to the media before the team’s departure to Bangladesh for a tour comprising a Test and three ODIs, Kohli said that unless the team developed a vision of winning Test matches, they would fall short of the goals they wanted to achieve, reports ESPNcricinfo.
“We have learnt a lot but I don’t think we have to keep playing with the mindset of ‘we have to keep learning all the time’. I think it’s time – we have played enough Tests so that we start executing our skills and getting results our way and have the vision and the focus to win Test matches, not just go out there with the mindset of learning with every game,” Kohli said.
“Obviously, you learn about the game every day, you learn watching on TV as well,” he said.
Ravi Shastri, the India team director, has said that given the presence of three assistant coaches, the side does not need a head coach, and even if it does, he can step in when needed.
“We have got three coaches, we don’t need another coach. I will double up as head coach if need be, so there is no issue whatsoever,” said Shastri when asked whether India would miss having a coach after Duncan Fletcher’s tenure came to an end post the World Cup.
Shastri’s tenure as team director has been extended till the Bangladesh tour but he hinted that he could continue in the position further as well.
“When we come back from Bangladesh, I will sit with them (the BCCI) and decide. I don’t rule out anything. I might be there much longer than what you think.”
“We have been playing for long enough now. Unless we want to have a vision of winning Test matches, executing our skills against the best in the world, we are falling short of the goals that we want to achieve. We know what we want to achieve as a unit, it’s just the mental thing that has to be right. We have learnt in the past few Test matches and months but starting now, we want to start achieving the results that we really want, not go away from every Test match thinking about what we have learnt from it.”
The one-off Test against Bangladesh will be the side’s first after their tour of Australia, where they lost the four-match series 2-0.
Kohli had an impressive run of form in that series, scoring nearly 700 runs, and also captained India in two games – first in Adelaide as stand-in and then in the last game in Sydney, after Dhoni announced his retirement from Test cricket.
Before his first tour as a full-time captain, Kohli also stressed the need to create an environment that allowed players freedom to focus on fitness and skills. He stated that minor changes in attitude, fitness levels and improvement in skills were goals for the team.
These changes, he said, would benefit the team as they prepare for a home season that includes Tests and limited-overs series against South Africa culminating in the World T20, which will be held in India next year.
“We want to create an environment firstly where players feel they are here to stay for a while. They feel confident about their abilities. And on the fitness front, it’s the primary focus of any sport and if you sustain that and if you strengthen that will help us in the next three-four years when guys go through tough phases in Test cricket because they are up there with the fitness and skill levels as well.
“So it has to be a combination of both and that’s what we primarily want to focus on. That’s something we feel we can improve on and it’s most definitely the need of the hour as far as Test cricket is concerned. We have plans and ambitions and goals that we want to achieve, but it will happen one step at a time. Yesterday was a small step towards it. Today we start practising, then we have the Test in Bangladesh and from there we have a big home season.”