Kohli has driven culture of fitness and energy levels in Team India: Dravid

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Centurion [South Africa], December 25 (ANI): Team India head coach Rahul Dravid has lauded Test skipper Virat Kohli for driving a culture of fitness and energy levels within the team.

India and South Africa will lock horns in three Tests and three ODIs. The first Test will begin on December 26 at the SuperSport Park, Centurion.

“I was there when Virat Kohli made his debut, I was there when he played his first Test match and I batted with him in that particular game. It is actually phenomenal to see how he has grown as a cricketer in the last 10 years, just the kind of performances he has had for the team. The way he has led the team and it has been terrific. He has driven a culture of fitness and energy levels among the team. I am looking forward to work with him, he just keeps evolving and he keeps pushing himself,” Dravid told bcci.tv.

Talking about the upcoming series against South Africa, the coach said: “It has been a great country to tour and a very challenging place to play cricket but also an exciting place to play the game. I have some fond memories associated with playing in South Africa, having won Test match here as a captain. Had some tough games here also, we reached the final of the 2003 World Cup, that was a really good memory. So it is a place that is very passionate about their cricket, games are well supported and well attended. Really looking forward to the series.”

“There is an expectation to win now, everytime India travels abroad irrespective where it is and whatever format we are playing, the expectation is that we are good enough to win and compete. It is not easy, South Africa is one of the challenging conditions to play cricket in, they do play well at home so we need to be at our best to win here,” he added.

The Test series between India and South Africa will form part of the new cycle of the ICC World Test Championship. The updated schedule is as follows: First Test will take place from December 26-30 at the SuperSport Park, Centurion; Second Test will take place from January 3-7, 2022, at the Wanderers, Johannesburg; Third Test will take place from January 11-15, 2022, at the Newlands, Cape Town.

“We have had some good practice sessions, I have been happy with the intensity guys have put in. The mental mindsight I can see among the players has been really good. We are preparing well and yeah we will take it from there,” said Dravid.

“We have a few options, guys can come in and step in and perform at the international level and it is a great sign for Indian cricket. Sometimes there are challenging and difficult decisions you need to take but more we build on that depth, then it gives us an opportunity for us to be competitive on the day irrespective of the XI we play,” he added. (ANI)

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