Mindset more important than practice – Kohli

Ahead of the Test series against Australia, stand-in India captain Virat Kohli has said that the team is in the right frame of mind and totally equipped to handle the dangerous Mitchell Johnson.

“I think coming to Australia and playing, it’s more about the mindset rather than getting used to the conditions, because pace and bounce is something which you can get used to. But unless you’re mentally there, there’s no point of any sort of practice,” Kohli told reporters on the eve of the first two-day warm-up match, against Cricket Australia XI.

Kohli also said that the team is “absolutely” capable of withstanding the threat posed by fast bowler Johnson. “He’s been bowling really well – everyone knows that. Credit to him for doing all that,” Kohli said. “We are equipped enough to tackle him on these pacy and bouncy wickets. I don’t see any good reason why we can’t come up and put up a good fight.

“It’s all about mentally being there. If you can visualise being in that battle and being on top, I think you’re going to be able to go out there and execute it. I think the guys in our team have the ability to do it … it’s all about being mentally present.”

Given the responsibility of leading the side in the first Test in the absence of MS Dhoni, who is recovering from a hand injury, Kohli, who led India to the Under-19 World Cup triumph in 2008, said that he has always been comfortable as a leader.

“I love leading the side, I love being captain, I love putting my first foot forward and putting in my [views] throughout the game. I don’t see any issues on why I can’t be up to the challenge.

“As long as the team backs me and puts in the performances we want, I think I’m going to look good at the end of the day.”

Responding to Australian fast bowler Peter Siddle‘s comment that he might find a rowdy crowd and added responsibilities “a bit daunting”, Kohli, who will become India’s 32nd Test captain at the start of the four-Test series in Brisbane on December 4, said. “Well that’s for me to know and for me to experience.

“I’ve played against him [Siddle], he’s quite a competitive guy, so I’m not surprised there’s already some banter starting from that end. I don’t mind all that.”

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