Boys in good nick and mentally prepared: Kohli

Nagpur, Nov 24 (IANS) Ahead of the third and penultimate Test against South Africa, India skipper Virat Kohli on Tuesday said that his players are in good nick and are high on confidence.

Kohli, who led his team to a thumping win inside three days in the first Test at Mohali, was very disappointed when the second Test was washed out after India took the upper hand by bowling out the visitors on the first day.

“It’s not the first time that it’s happening, certainly not the last time that it has happened because weather is something that we can’t control. What we can control is our practice sessions. We have had a few and the guys are in good shape, looking in good nick and feeling mentally good about approaching this Test match,” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference here.

With the pitch in Jamtha sporting a dry and spin friendly track, one can expect a low-scoring game between World No.1 South Africa and the fourth ranked hosts.

As in the first two Tests, India will hold the edge with their spinning trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Ravindra Jadeja making the contest tougher for the visitors’ batsmen.

But the captain preferred to play a watch and wait game without telling much about the selection, adding that the final call will be taken seeing the nature of the wicket and there might be some changes.

“In a Test side, according to the conditions, I feel you should have a couple of all-rounders, one a spinning all-rounder and one a seaming all-rounder. It’s just that one slot which brings balance to the team and must be decided according to the conditions we are playing in. Other than that anything could be a possibility,” Kohli said.

“Assessing the nature of the wicket, we have got to make a few changes. Obviously, I won’t disclose it here. We possibly might make a few changes according to the conditions,” he added.

The Proteas have some good memories from their last outing here.

The last time they played a Test in Nagpur was in February 2010 when Hashim Amla scored a brilliant unbeaten 253 and the visitors went on to post a huge total of 558/6 declared in the first innings. But the South Africa skipper has not been amongst the runs lately.

“If you see any sort of series or tours in the past, the opposition will obviously look to target the captain because he is the one sort of making strategies. The opposition finds it very important for him not to be comfortable when he is batting out there especially if he is a batter. That is what I have experienced in the past as well,” Kohli said.

In the pace department, there is still a question mark on Dale Steyn’s fitness and the Proteas will wait till Wednesday morning before taking a call on the experienced fast bowler. If Steyn is unable to play, Morne Morkel may have to lead the South African pace attack since Vernon Philander is also ruled out due to injury.

“We have played him (Steyn) enough times in the past. We have scored enough runs against him in the past. It does not make a difference if he is playing or not. We treat every bowler the same way. We treat everyone equally. It doesn’t really matter,” Kohli concluded.

–indo-Asian News Service

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