On the eve of the Indian team’s departure for Dublin for their tour of Ireland and England, skipper Virat Kohli has announced that he has completely recovered from the neck injury he sustained while leading the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL this year.
“I’m 100 per cent ready to go. The neck is fine now. I’ve had six to seven sessions in Mumbai and I’m absolutely ready to go. I went through the fitness test as well and the body is feeling fine. I’m actually very excited to get back onto the field, which is a very rare feeling when you play so much cricket. But in hindsight, these breaks really help. It freshens you up and gets you pumped to get back out there again,” Kohli said at a press conference in New Delhi.
The India batting sensation has struggled in English conditions in the past where he averages a dismal 13.40 in five Tests. In order to better acclimatise himself to the conditions, the India skipper had lined up a maiden county stint with Surrey in the month of June. However, the neck injury meant that Kohli begins the tour without a county stint under his belt. The 29-year-old though stated that the break can be a blessing in disguise.
“In hindsight when I look at it, I think what has happened was in my best interest. Yes, I wanted to go and experience the conditions in England; that’s a place we haven’t played to our potential. It’s been four years since we last went there and one tends to forget how the scenario is like there. I wanted to witness the difficult phase of those conditions, like which (Cheteshwar) Pujara and Ishant (Sharma) played in,” Kohli stated.
“But if I was 90 per cent with my body and used to the conditions as compared to being 110 now and going in fresh, I would much rather be in this position. More than anything, you need to be fresh and attain 100 per cent fitness before a long tour such as this,” he added.
India’s batsmen will be thoroughly tested by England pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad in the five-match Test series but Kohli believes playing the limited-overs clashes before the five-day games will hold India in good stead.
“The swinging ball has the tendency to trouble the best of batsmen. But then that helps our fast bowlers as well. As a batting unit, it will be a challenge to square off against the swinging ball, but by the time the Test series arrive we won’t feel like we are playing an away series because by then, we would have already played plenty of limited-overs cricket already,” he explained.
“As a captain of the team, I would like to put in performances myself. I think a lot of people have been thinking about the 2014 tour for too long now. We played the Champions Trophy in England last year, not in Bangladesh. And after what happened during the Tests in South Africa, we are looking to play difficult cricket because that is the only way we can improve.”
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