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South Africa is one place where we have not won a series yet; we are very motivated to do that: Kohli

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Mumbai, Dec 15 (IANS) India Test captain Virat Kohli believes the team will take in lots of motivation from the third Test win at Johannesburg in January 2018, which came in the ‘toughest conditions’.

India are scheduled to play three Tests against South Africa, starting from December 26 in Centurion.

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In a virtual pre-departure press conference on Wednesday, Virat said that his team is motivated to do well and win the series at a place where India have never won before.

“We can take a lot of motivation from that (Johannesburg 2018 win). We probably won in the toughest conditions of that tour. So that should give us a lot of confidence. If we start off with the right mindset and with self-confidence and belief, we can definitely stand up to any challenge that comes our way and take a lot of heart from it,” said Kohli.

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“South Africa is one place where we have not won a series yet, so we are very motivated to do that and that mindset is always to go out there in any country and win the series. We don’t think of winning just a Test match here and there and we will do our absolute best to make sure we keep contributing towards the cause. We will take a lot of motivation and belief from that win on the last tour,” added Kohli.

Overall, India have played 20 Test matches in South Africa, winning just three, and in their last trip in 2018, lost the series 2-1. The teams who have defeated South Africa at home have been Australia, England and Sri Lanka. Kohli is aware of the challenge South Africa brings for his team while keeping the past happenings in mind.

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“South Africa was really the start for us as a team starting to believe that we could win overseas. We built it up nicely in England and then Australia was an accumulation of all that effort. South Africa represents a different kind of challenge. As I said, the wickets have a lot of pace and bounce. You need to be at your absolute best to be able to perform there and get difficult runs, something we have tried to do as a team but probably left ourselves a bit too much to do at certain times when sessions have gone very bad.”

“That is something we have controlled very well in the recent past with more experience and guys understanding how to play in these kinds of conditions and against which bowlers how to transition their innings through the day so they can bat long. I think we are very well placed in terms of experience, belief and confidence that this time around, we can do something special and get the results that we want as a team and overcome toughest conditions to go and win the series.”

Kohli signed off by stressing on the central wicket practice and match stimulations becoming important for the team in the absence of a warm-up match in South Africa. “As much centre-wicket practice as possible, match simulations. I think those kinds of things really help when you play in conditions which are, probably in my opinion, the most challenging for batting because of the pace and bounce on offer and that conditions can be quite tricky with swing as well.”

“We have seen that in South Africa. So, I think as much simulation as we can have, understanding which areas we are hitting the ball, getting into good shape. With the bowlers are well, with the slips in place, what areas they want to bowl in and to cut down those easy singles and the boundary options. All those kinds of things help you get into a good space when you don’t have warm-up games.”

–IANS

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