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Virat Kohli: This is India’s best batting pitch

Virat Kohli may have had a dull series against Sri Lanka as per his lofty batting standards but the first of the three-match ODI series against Australia today could just set the tone for the Indian skipper as it’s at one of his happy hunting grounds—the Wankhede Stadium.

Kohli has had some big scores in his last international outings at this venue across three formats. In the last Test he played here (v England in 2016), Kohli scored a magnificent 235. His last ODI here (v New Zealand in 2017) saw him hammer 121 albeit in a losing cause. In the recent T20I match at the Wankhede in December last year, Kohli scored an unbeaten 70 off just 29 balls in the series decider against the West Indies.

As much as skills and form matter, the venue too plays an important role in getting all the forces together. Kohli was in full flow during Team India’s training session on the eve of the match on Monday. He timed everything sweetly and cleared the fence at will. The skipper wore a very satisfied look after the intense three-hour practice session.

Kohli had no qualms in declaring that the Wankhede pitch is the “best” he has batted on in his glittering career. “I was just chatting with Ravi bhai [head coach Shastri] and I said, ‘this is probably the best pitch to bat on in India’. But that’s not to take anything away from what bowlers can do here. You might have seen that when bowlers are on a roll, even in T20 cricket, they can pick up four wickets in the first six overs. Even in one-day cricket, you can get pace and bounce and sometimes seam as well under lights.

But as a batsman, when you get in, it’s probably along with Adelaide—probably the best batting wicket I’ve played on. That’s something, as a batsman, you always come back to and relish the opportunity to play on such a good pitch. But having said that, the bowlers can get into the game as well. I like the wicket because it’s generally a good cricket wicket and it’s true to either skill, which I like to see at the international level,” said Kohli, effusive in his praise for the Wankhede track.

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