Kohli: In­dia need to play spin be er against NZ

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

SKIP­PER Vi­rat Kohli con­ceded yes­ter­day that In­dia must bat bet­ter against spin, as the favourites pre­pare to take on a dan­ger­ous New Zealand in the first Test in Kan­pur.

Kohli pointed to In­dia’s loss last year at the hands of Sri Lanka’s spin­ners on a rag­ing turner as ev­i­dence of his side’s weak­ness, as they be­gin their quest to re­gain the num­ber one world rank­ing spot.

His team take on the Black Caps to­mor­row in the first of three Tests – In­dia’s 500th in to­tal – at Kan­pur’s Green Park which is ex­pected to prove favourable to spin­ners.

“It’s an area where we can im­prove. We have lost a Test match in Sri Lanka be­cause we couldn’t play as well as we would have liked,” Kohli told re­porters.

“The team wants to im­prove on that as­pect of the game. [Its] some­thing that [we] surely need to get stronger,” he said, ad­ding that his bats­men were work­ing on this.

Sri Lankan vet­eran spin­ner Ran­gana Herath claimed seven wick­ets to skit­tle In­dia for 112 last Au­gust in a stun­ning vic­tory, al­though In­dia went on to win the next two matches.

Kohli, known for his ag­gres­sive brand of cricket, said he was im­pressed with New Zealand’s “fear­less” style of play in re­cent times and be­lieves the vis­i­tors will prove tough op­po­nents.

“I think Kane is lead­ing the side very well. We ex­pect very good com­pe­ti­tion and good hard-fought cricket,” Kohli said of his op­po­site num­ber Kane Wil­liamson.

In­dia, who start the se­ries strong favourites af­ter their re­cent 2-0 away vic­tory against the West Indies, are also eye­ing a re­turn to the top of the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil rank­ings.

In­dia re­cently top­pled Aus­tralia from the top of the rank­ings, only to be leapfrogged by their archri­vals Pak­istan.

In­dia’s spin king Ravichan­dran Ash­win is in form, pick­ing up 17 wick­ets in the Caribbean, while bats­men Lokesh Rahul and Ajinkya Ra­hane have also been in good knick.

Wil­liamson said his young side would be look­ing to build on their suc­cess at this year’s World Twenty20 when they reached the semi-fi­nals.

“We have got some ex­cit­ing young tal­ent. We showed that in the T20 world cup.”

New Zealand, who re­cently suf­fered a 1-0 loss against South Africa, will be count­ing on its spin bowlers in­clud­ing In­dian-born Ish Sodhi, along with Mitchell Sant­ner and Mark Craig.

“Yes, how our spin bowlers bowl will be im­por­tant. But at the same time we are hop­ing for a bit of re­verse swing and that cer­tainly brings the seam­ers into it,” said Wil­liamson, who heads into his third se­ries as skip­per.

Photo: AFP

In­dian crick­eter Lokesh Rahul plays a shot dur­ing the two-day tour match be­tween In­dia and WICB Pres­i­dent’s XI squad in Saint Kitts. In­dia will play their 500th test this week against New Zealand in Kan­pur.

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