India captain Virat Kohli on Monday asserted that they are ready to play day-night Test at any venue in Australia later this year. Kohli was asked about it on the eve of the three-match One-day International series opener against Australia.
“We’re ready and up for the challenge – whether it’s Gabba [Brisbane], Perth... it doesn’t matter to us. It’s become a very exciting feature of any Test series and we’re open to playing day-night Tests,” Kohli said.
India played their first-ever day-night Test against Bangladesh last November, winning the match with plenty of time to spare at the Eden Gardens.
“We played the day-night Test here and were pretty happy with how it went,” the India captain said.
He added: “We have the skill sets as a team to compete against anyone in the world, anywhere, in any format of the game whether it’s white ball, red ball or pink ball – we’re ready to play anything.”
Last year, when asked about India playing day-night Tests in Australia, Paine had sarcastically remarked that his Australian team would need to ask Kohli if he was willing to play in the format Down Under.
“We’ll certainly try and we’ll have to run that by Virat [Kohli]. We’ll get an answer from him at some stage I’m sure. We’ll ask Virat and see if we can get his permission to play here and maybe, even get a pink-ball Test if he’s in a good mood.” Paine had said.
Australian want to play two Tests of the four-match series under lights when India tour next summer. The hosts want to start the series at the Gabba in Brisbane, where they have not lost a Test for a long time.
“India-Australia – it’s not a totally new thing that we’re going to experience (for) either side. The teams know each other so well, we played each other so much, and the competition has always been good. Having won [the Test series] last year, that gives us a lot more confidence going back,” said Kohli.
With David Warner and Steve Smith back in their setup, Kohli acknowledged that the upcoming tour will be a different ball game and took note of rookie Marnus Labuschagne’s meteoric rise.
“This time around the series is going to be different in terms of their batting challenging our bowlers. To be fair, last time around, the players were not that experienced,” he said.
“If you take out David [Warner] and Steve [Smith], Marnus [Labuschagne] came in but he played only one game. The way he’s shaped up in last summer, it’s amazing – so much consistency it always good to watch at the international level – and the hunger and the passion, you can see in his game,” Kohli added.
Kohli also admitted that it would be a challenge for his bowlers to break through the Australian batting order next summer.
The 31-year-old said: “It’ll be a challenge for us to break through that batting order but it’s a challenge we should look forward to. We should not look forward to easy games and going to Australia, you should not expect anything to be easy. As I said, we want to keep challenging ourselves as a team and we’re the top two sides in the table as well in the world championship.
“I’m sure it’s going to be amazing for people to watch because the series will be right up there with any of the best series we’ve seen in the past five-six years. We’re pretty excited for it.”
Kohli, Bumrah battle it out in nets
India skipper Virat Kohli said that his leading pacer Jasprit Bumrah’s intensity knows no bounds even at practice sessions.
“According to me he’s [Bumrah] the most skilful bowler in the world in any format of the game,” Kohli said. “To play against him...he brings match intensity in the nets. He’s not shy of hitting us on the head or targeting our ribs every now and then,” he added.
Kohli shared the experience of facing Bumrah in the nets on the eve of the three-match ODI series against Australia.
“He’s a proper, proper bowler and it’s always nice to play against the best in the nets. I challenge myself to play well against him. Not everyday do you get to hit boundaries off Jasprit in the nets,” Kohli said.
On the eve of the first match at the Wankhede Stadium, Kohli and Bumrah were locked in a keen tussle at the nets.
Kohli said: “Bumrah has been playing for the team for last four years and this is probably the second time I have ever got out [in] the nets, hitting a few against him and not getting out.
“One was Adelaide before the Test in 2018 and one was today. I’m glad that it was the last ball of my net session because he ran back to his mark, but I got out of the nets.”