For Virat Kohli, the first Test of the four-match series between India and Australia will be extra special because of the venue it’s being played at — Adelaide Oval.
Kohli and Co take on Australia in the series opener starting on Thursday at a ground where the Indian captain has had fond memories in the past.
In the four innings Kohli has batted at Adelaide Oval, he has scored score three centuries. His tally is 394 runs at an average of 98.50, with an highest score of 141. He made a century in both innings the last time India were at this ground, which was also his first match as Indian captain.
“I love coming to this ground and Adelaide, in general. I don’t [exactly] know what the connection is but I just feel really good here. Not to say that performances are always guaranteed in a certain place, but yeah, coming to Adelaide I feel different from any other place I have gone in the world,” Kohli said in the press conference ahead of the first Test on the current tour.
Kohli also made his first Test century at this venue, back in January, 2012. That knock came at a point of time when his place in the longest format was being questioned, while his then-captain MS Dhoni continued to back the prodigiously talented white-ball cricketer who was yet to make a mark in the Test arena.
“It happens to every cricketer, where they have a favourite venue away from home and for me Adelaide has always been special, because I scored my first Test ton here. From then on, the connection started. It’s a great place to play cricket, the stadium is been redone, the pitch has always been good. There are no givens on this pitch. I have enjoyed my cricket here,” Kohli added.
Kohli – who electrified viewers with viral footage of a pre-Test batting exhibition in the nets – holds the key for India’s success as the team looks for a first ever series win Down Under. While his personal record is great at the venue, the Indian captain would look to finish on the winning side here for the first time after coming agonisingly close in an epic run-chase last time around.
And with India having starting troubles in their past overseas tours under Kohli, the captain wants the team to hit the ground running early.
“We do not want to start tentatively, we all want to express ourselves, go out there and be positive. Not meaning that we are going to play rash shots or be all over the place with the ball, but just in our heads — wanting to bring our A game in the first game itself and try to to lay a good foundation for us as the series goes on,” Kohli said.
India lost the first match in both South Africa and England, and started the series on the backfoot.
“We don’t want to wait to figure out what the conditions are or the pitch, we got to read it early and alter our games accordingly, which I failed to do on our last two tours. When we did it we have won games, but we’ll have to do it for longer periods to win a series which is our goal. We don’t want to be a side that plays exciting cricket in one Test match, we want to be consistent and for that we need to adapt quicker than we have done in the past,” Kohli added.