Result-oriented pitches will draw crowds to Tests: Kohli

Bengaluru, Nov 13 (IANS) With Test matches played to nearly empty stands, Indian captain Virat Kohli on Friday hoped result-oriented pitches would draw more fans to stadia to watch the game’s longer version spread over five days.

“We should be delighted to have result-oriented wickets, which will have more fans coming to watch Tests. We hope more people will come to the stadium to watch this match because it is an exciting series between two strong teams,” Kohli told reporters ahead of the second Test against South Africa here from Saturday.

After losing the three-game T-20 and five-game ODI series to the visiting team, India beat South Africa by 108-run in the first Test at Mohali in Punjab on November 7, within three days of the game when as many as 40 wickets fell.

Responding to criticism that Tests no longer draw fans to stands in droves as T20s or ODIs due to fast-paced life and declining interest to watch a five-day game, Kohli said poor turnout of fans does not affect the players as they were focused on the ball and bat.

“It doesn’t really make us sad that we won’t have so many people turning up to watch this match. Obviously, we like playing in front of full stadium or full crowds, but eventually we stay focused on the ball being bowled or hit,” Kohli added.

Admitting that home grounds were an advantage to the host team as players were familiar with the conditions than their opponents, the captain said whatever be the situation, everyone has to go out and play good cricket.

“We have to go out there (ground) and execute our plans. That’s what we need to here as well. As a few of them (Proteas) also know the conditions well, I don’t think knowing the conditions more will make a difference in this game,” Kohli quipped after a practice session in the Chinnaswamy Stadium here.

On team selection or if the winning combination would be retained, Kohli said changes would be made if necessary or according to the conditions of the pitch, ground and how the weather would be over the next five days.

“We will make necessary changes according to the conditions and what the weather looks like in the next few days because it is important to keep all factors before picking a squad for a Test. So it does make you change the combination to a certain extent,” Kohli said.

Unlike South Africa, who are unable to play their seam bowlers Dale Styn and Vernon Philander due to injuries, all the Indian players are fit and raring to go.

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