Captain Virat Kohli is not overtly worried about the Indian Test team’s recent struggle against spinners but says they are surely working on this aspect since a side that aspires to be a champion can’t leave any window for the opposition to exploit.
Sri Lankan spinner Rangan Herath had wreaked havoc last year during the Galle Test, where India struggled to chase 176 and were all out for 112. Herath had taken seven wickets in the second innings to spell doom for the visitors.
It evoked criticism as media questioned Indian team’s age-old ability to dominate the spinners.
As it is expected that the Green Park pitch for the series-opening Test in Kanpur will assist spinners, Kohli was asked to respond on this aspect.
"I think it’s not a concern," he said categorically but acknowledged that "It is an area where we can improve."
Kohli argued that they lost the Galle Test in Sri Lanka because they could not play spin as they would have liked.
"We did not execute our batting plans, but we rectified that. The team wants to improve on that aspect of the game, something we surely needs to get strong. So much was build up (in media). We countered conditions really well away from home — England, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, we focused on pace, so we didn’t pay that much attention on spin. That was one area where we feel that we could have worked or should have worked more.
"Now we are putting in more efforts to bat against the spinners longer. We are practicing the small little things. We are covering all bases because if you want to be a champion side, you don’t want to give the opposition any window to get into the game and that’s an area that needs to be worked on through the course of this season. Good thing is that we are playing a lot of Test cricket," he said.
Kohli said the current side has all the ingredients to be a dominating side in the world.
"We believe we certainly have what it takes to be the best in the world. One area where we have tapped into is belief. Lot of young players coming into can lack belief, there could be a lot of insecurities, whether I’ll play in the next game or whether my position is settled or not. So, it’s all about getting rid of all those feelings.
"When you step into the pitch, you need to tell yourself that I own this position for next 10 years for India in Tests, that’s how you can be confident and stress-free. That’s how you can express yourself and that’s what this team has been able to do. You want to play bold cricket, take risks," said Kohli.