Ahead of Melbourne Test, Kohli says batsmen must ‘step up collectively’

Melbourne [Australia], Dec 25 (ANI): Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli on Tuesday said that while bowlers are performing well, batsmen need to "step up collectively" to strengthen the team, ahead of the third Test match against Australia. "Our bowling has been performing really well but at the same time, we have to ensure that as a batting unit, we are able to put up those runs on the board. Otherwise, the bowlers won't be able to do anything with the totals that we have been compiling," Kohli told media here. "If we are batting second, we will try to take the lead or get as close to the opposition total as possible. If you equal a big score, then it becomes a second-innings match. And if you take a good first-innings lead, then you can capitalise on that. The batsmen must step up collectively. I won't say individually whether someone needs to do that or not, but as a batting unit, we have to definitely put up a better performance," he added. Talking about the Melbourne pitch, the skipper said it has much more grass than it had last time. "I hope that it is a lively pitch. I hope it does as much as it did in the first two games because as a side, you always know that you are in for a result that way. The surface, what I saw yesterday, looked pretty dry underneath. There is good coverage of grass which should keep the surface intact but again, we have to figure out on the field how the pitch actually plays and then figure out our plans accordingly. I think it should have enough for the bowlers to stay interested on all days of the Test match and hopefully, it's a much livelier wicket than the last time we played here," he said. When asked about the series level, Kohli said what has happened in the past has no significance at all to what is going to happen in the upcoming Tests. "The key is to stay in the moment, stay in the present, understand and remember why you won the first Test, which was because of us being in the present moment. You just have to repeat those same things. The teams that stay in the present win sessions, win balls, win overs and more or less end up winning the Test. That is all that we are going to focus on- play good cricket, play consistently good cricket and not get too excited or too taken aback by the situations getting altered during the course of the Test match," he said. "If you are convinced in your mind that you can do it, your body starts reacting accordingly. It is all about getting into that frame of mind, I guess, as a team, as individuals, when we prepare for our own skill sets also. If we are totally convinced stepping on to the park that we can do it, then we can definitely do it. I feel it is 80 percent mental and 20 percent technical when you go to any country away from your conditions to play. The teams that stay in a good zone for long enough, they end up doing special things. We are definitely working on that aspect, to stay in that zone, and keep pushing ourselves to play good quality cricket and be competitive on all days of the Test match. And when we sense an opportunity to get a result, we go for that opportunity. But the most important thing is the mental set-up according to me," he concluded. India and Australia will play their third Test from December 26 to 30 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
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