India open to playing day-night Test in Australia, says Kohli

Updated 14 Jan 2020


MUMBAI: Indian cricketers run holding hands as they attend a training session at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.—AFP
MUMBAI: Indian cricketers run holding hands as they attend a training session at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.—AFP

MUMBAI: India are ‘absolutely open’ to playing a day-night test in Australia this year and the world’s top-ranked team have the confidence to take on any side in the world in any condition, captain Virat Kohli said on Monday.

India declined Australia’s offer to play a day-night Test in Adelaide in 2018-19, citing lack of experience.

Kohli’s men, however, took a little over two days to clinch their first pink-ball Test, thrashing Bangladesh by an innings and 46 runs in Kolkata in November.

“We played the day-night Test here [in India], we are pretty happy with how it went,” Kohli told reporters on the eve of the opening One-day International against Australia. “It’s become a very exciting feature of any Test series. We are absolutely open to playing a day-night Test.

“We are ready enough for the challenge. Whether it’s Gabba, it’s Perth, doesn’t matter to us. We do have the skill-sets as a team now to compete against anyone in the world, anywhere, in any format of the game.”

With day-night Tests seen as a possible solution to Test cricket’s dwindling attendances, Australia are hopeful that India will agree to play one at the Gabba this year.

India earned their first series triumph on Australian soil on their last visit although the hosts were without Steve Smith and David Warner, who were suspended after the ball-tampering scandal.

Kohli challenged his bowlers to be ready for a full-strength batting lineup of Australia, who made it five comprehensive wins out of five matches for the home summer against Pakistan and New Zealand.

In a year when a Twenty20 World Cup is scheduled, Kohli was asked about the relevance of playing bilateral 50-overs matches and the India captain said his team was ‘excited’ and looking forward to the challenge.

“When you are playing against Australia, you don’t really think about relevance of the series, it’s about playing against the best,” Kohli said. “We, along with Australia, are probably the top two sides in the world as far as balance is concerned.

“As players we are very excited to play Australia, a full strength Australia in our conditions. Also to test ourselves against the best.”

Finch-led Australia edged out hosts India 3-2 last year after losing the opening two games and Kohli believes a new close-fought battle will be fought this week.

“It is always 3-2, 2-1 kind of series,” Kohli said on the eve of the opening game. “Having played a lot against each other, we know the strengths and weaknesses of either side. So it’s always good and a tough challenge playing Australia purely because of the skill set and mindset they bring on to the field.”

And he warned: “The way they are playing their cricket now after Steve [Smith] and David [Warner] have come back, it’s pretty intense. They are challenging every team, they are dominating a few teams as well.

“So I think, we along with Australia are probably the top two sides in the world as far as balance is concerned.”

Kohli said India will need a top performance in every game.

“As players we are excited to play a full strength Australia in our conditions, also to test ourselves against the best,” said Kohli. “In the year of the World Cup as many games as we play together as a team, it’s going to benefit us, especially the white-ball cricket.”

Kohli also said he is open to playing three opening batsmen — K.L. Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma — in the same team, even if it means dropping himself down the batting order.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2020