Team India are keen to prove their mettle as world’s No. 1 Test team against South Africa in their own den and for that, the visitors are sweating their heart out in the practice sessions. However, India skipper Virat Kohli is not pleased with the practice pitch dished up to the team at the Western Province Cricket Club in Cape Town, South Africa.
After a two-shift opening practice session on Sunday (January 1), the Indian team practiced indoors today due to wet and windy conditions at the WPCC.
"If you look at the wicket that we are practicing on right now then it is not even 15 percent of what we are going to get in the game so we understand that.
"There is no point wasting two days in which guys go out and score quick fifties and come out. We would rather have them do two sessions like today and get into the Test match zone and test ourselves. We can try and prepare the wicket the way we want to but if you are playing a two-day game then there is no room for changing the wicket at different times of the day," Kohli had said while addressing the media after the outdoor practice session on Sunday (December 31).
Considering the fact that real Test match wicket will be completely different to the warm-up one, the Indian team management had earlier cancelled their solitary two-day practice game and rather opted to have an extended practice session within their own control.
"Here we have the option to just put more water on the wicket, roll it & make it harder come tomorrow's practice session and then we will have conditions that we want. You are never sure if you are going to get quality practice games or not. We would rather have practice sessions that are in our control. It does not matter whether you play three practice games if you are not in the right frame of mind starting January 5. If you are in a good head space and have practice sessions then I feel that is good enough as well", added Kohli.
The chief groundsman of the WPCC, Andrew Mathys also admitted that Virat Kohli and company were not satisfied with the practice wicket.
"The Indian team management told me that they want a green wicket so we are trying to prepare that. We are trying to keep it similar than that one but we are just keeping the balance. It is not going to be the same but we are trying to keep the balance and even so if they practice here then they are going to have a nice game at Newlands", Andrew Mathys said as per India Today.
Eager to change the perception of people who deem India as a home track bully, Kohli and Shastri have demanded two new practice pitches to be prepared for them, as confirmed by John Martin, the Supervisor at WPCC.
"We prepared main wicket for them but they want a greenish pitch (which is) nice and hard. As you can see what we have done is take off too much grass but it should not be a problem as the wicket is solid and hard. On the other side we are preparing two nets for them as well which will have a lot of grass and that is what they want basically. Further on everything should be fine," John Martin was quoted by India Today as saying.