NAGPUR: India skipper Virat Kohli today clarified that there is no "policy" of preparing spinning tracks but playing on placid batting wickets will never produce match-winning bowlers.
"It is not a policy. It is the conditions that we get in India. Otherwise playing Test matches and making 500 runs…..you don't create bowlers like that and win Tests matches. They key is to win Test matches as I have said this before. Wherever you go in the world, you should be prepared to face those conditions and tune your game accordingly," Kohli was categorical in his reply at the post-match press conference.
In fact he could not hide his sarcasm at the double standards at those who were sceptical about India not playing enough on spinner-friendly wickets after they lost to Sri Lanka at Galle.
"I saw some time back when we collapsed in Galle (Sri Lanka) someone said that we have improved our fast bowling play, but we don't know how to play spinners and now when we are playing in spin-friendly conditions this is a problem as well. I don't know where we find a balance," the hint of sarcasm was evident in his voice.
He also took a dig at former players from other countries (without taking names) as to how they are being critical about a pitch sitting thousand miles away.
"I don't know why there is so much hype about this issue. A lot of people are writing a lot of things about the pitch, that it should not be like this, or it's turning too much. (There are) people sitting in other countries and speaking about pitches in India," a livid Kohli said at the post match media conference.
Kohli said that Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis today showed that if there was application, then one could even survive on this strip.
"It is just a matter of mindset. People are giving their opinion and they are free to do so. But we don't feel that way. Today was a classic example of two guys (South Africa captain Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis) applying themselves and showing that it can be done," Kohli pointed out to his detractors.
Just like his teammate Ravichandran Ashwin had said that Indian players never complained about the pitches that they got overseas, the skipper also decided to speak in the same vein.
"We have never complained when we had challenging conditions and we won't complain in future either. We try to improve our game. It is always just the matter of us not having the technique or mental strength to cope with conditions away from home. When these sorts of things happen everyone talks about undue home advantage.
"People can talk about it or can choose not to talk about it. The fact is that we have won the series. We won two Test matches. We have sealed the series and we are happy about it," Kohli was point blank in his response. He also pointed out that in the recent past all teams had done well at home only, barring a team like South Africa, which tasted a Test series defeat today overseas after a nine-year unbeaten run featuring 14 away series.
"If you see the stats of any team in the last few years, they are dominating at home. That's how Test cricket has gone. Whoever has won away from home is the no one or 2 side. That shows lot of character; it would not happen every time.
"This is a side that has not lost for nine years. It is very hard to maintain that sort of record. Credit to them, they have not lost for nine years, but I will give credit to our boys to have put an equal amount of pressure on them in the course of three Tests matches and winning the series. I don't see anything more or less to that," he said.
"As a team, we feel that we have to improve our play against spin as well these are the conditions we will get in the sub-continent. This is a learning for us too as we have to play a lot of Test matches in future at home in subcontinent and we need to step up our game in order to win test matches."
While praising his spin bowlers, Kohli also said the batting was not up to the mark.
"I said this in Mohali that we have not applied ourselves properly except one or two batsmen. To play well consistently, you have to apply as a batting group and you are talking about four guys out of six. That's not happened and does not help to big total. We have still been able to get 220- 225 odd in three out of four times."
Kohli said that the time that Murali Vijay, Chetehswar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan (in the 2nd innings) batted, they showed that runs can be scored.
"Even on turning pitches, if you apply yourself and are determined to dig in and play a game not natural to you, you can score runs. Our batsmen did that in Mohali. Vijay got a decent start in the first innings, Pujara played well second innings Shikhar got 40-odd (39) and everyone showed runs can be scored.
"It was more case of batsman making mistake rather than ball doing crazy thing out in the middle. I think it was more of a mental thing which needed more application." He also praised the efforts of Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra, along with those of Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
"The efforts from those two are as important as Ashwin's and Jadeja's. I felt this throughout in this Test match as well as in Mohali. Mishra got those crucial breakthroughs.
"He's showed in Sri Lanka as well and bowled really well in his comeback series and gained a lot of confidence.
"When the partnership (between Amla and du Plessis) was on, he actually held the ball and said he will get a wicket. After about three overs he got Hashim out. He was feeling confident and full credit to him for getting that breakthrough and then getting du Plessis out as well to open the gates for us. Credit goes to Ishant and Mishra as well as Ashwin and Jadeja for this victory."
He repeated what he had said about Ashwin prior to the game that he has improved his consistency and relying on his stock ball and not trying to do too much and beating the batsmen with variation of pace.
"That's what he is relying on that has made him stronger as a bowler. He is winning matches for us consistently which is a great thing for us because getting a taste of the winning habit is one thing but holding on to that is another.
"These kinds of consistent performances sure sign of a champion bowler mental strength he has and knowledge of the game he has I wish him all the luck and congratulate him," concluded Kohli.