Prolific Indian middle order batsman Virat Kohli reckons that it will be absolutely fair if India take advantage of home conditions and make the visiting English side play on rank turners during their upcoming tour.
"Why not? We were given flattest of tracks during practice matches in England and Australia and then suddenly presented with a green-top during Tests. During practice matches, we would face those 120 kmph bowlers," a candid Kohli said during a freewheeling chat after a net session with the Delhi Ranji Trophy squad here on Saturday.
"If they [England and Australia] wanted to be fair to us, they could have provided us with same kind of tracks for practice matches like what were used in Tests, especially when they knew that visiting teams get very less time to practice. Now they would be playing on turning tracks and definitely would know where they stand," he said when asked about the fairness of playing on turners.
Kohli also sought to play the mind game ahead of the series by stating that Kevin Pietersen will be "under a lot of pressure to perform well" as he is one of their key players who has a good record against quality spin attacks. "There will be huge pressure on KP as he has been playing in India for quite some time and considered to be a good batsman against spin. You may say that the senior England cricketers have an understanding of these conditions but let me tell you, it's not that easy. You might feel they would like to hit spinners but end up doing exactly opposite."
The prolific batsman cited the example of England's Test series against Pakistan in UAE. "Come to think of that particular series, there wasn't much of turn on offer but England couldn't negotiate one quality spinner [Saeed Ajmal] as they lost the battle in their heads," he said.
For someone who has always played the horizontal bat shot well enough, Kohli doesn't endorse the popular perception that Indians are susceptible against short-pitched stuff. "I have never really understood this theory. Are people like Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag poor players of short-pitched bowling? Show me how many Indian players were out to short-pitched deliveries in Australia?" he questioned.
"No batsman in world cricket is comfortable against a good bouncer. If you get a good bouncer, give credit to the bowler rather than finding chinks in batsman's armoury. When someone gets out to cover drive, no one raises questions about your technique but it only happens when you get out to a short ball. A good bouncer will remain a good bouncer."
Although he thinks that it is important "to stay one step ahead" of the opposition, the 23-year-old batsman feels that over-analysis can complicate matters. "I would like to react to on-field situations rather than do a homework and find that my rivals have changed their gameplan. I believe in doing things my own way and being in that zone," he said.
The talented batsman also doesn't like comparisons between Gary Kirsten and Duncan Fletcher. "Gary was much more involved in practice sessions but Duncan is also a thorough professional. He would quietly stand in one corner and observe. If he needs to say something, he would come up and give a suggestion. He believes international cricketers know their jobs. And if we have lost eight Test matches, blame us and not the coach."
Kohli also backed skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni saying that just eight Test defeats doesn't make him a bad captain. "Under him, we have won the World Cup, been No. 1 in Tests. He has also encouraged the juniors."
Talking about the Ranji Trophy game against Uttar Pradesh, Kohli said that it would give him the necessary "game-time" and also help him switch back to "Test mode" from Twenty20. "Last time against New Zealand at Hyderabad, I was trying to hit every ball and thus missed out on big hundred. The UP match would give me sufficient game time and help me get back to Test match mode," he added.