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Team India Coach Ravi Shastri and Captain Virat Kohli during the pre depature press conference held in Mumbai . Express photo by Kevin DSouza, Mumbai 27-12-2017.

This one and a half year will define this Indian team, says Virat Kohli

Indian cricket team is set to leave for South Africa for a challenging away tour. The Virat Kohli-led unit will play three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is. Ahead of the team’s departure, India captain Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri addressed the media and talked about the challenge of playing abroad, the conditions they will get in South Africa, mindset of the team and more.

On bowling unit: Bowling has come a long way, batting has come long way. We try to do well than the last time. It’s a opportunity for us to go back again. Try to the same thing in much better way

On overseas tours: You need to take up the challenges while traveling to places like South Africa, England and Australia because you go there once and then you won’t travel there for a long time because of the way scheduling is done. It’s an opportunity for us.

On return to cricket: I was away for thing which is important. Switching back to cricket is not difficult at all. I have been training, somewhere in the head South Africa was in my mind.

On South Africa conditions: The conditions would be testing but this one and a half year will define this Indian team and the whole team is aware of this. It all depends on the mind set of the batsman. Any condition can be tricky if you are not in a good frame of mind. It’s important to take up challenges mentally and then every condition seems like home condition.

For us playing for the country is the most prestigious thing. We know what we want to do as a team. When you do something in conditions which are more challenging, it gives you more job satisfaction. But winning gives you satisfaction no matter in what condition you are playing. We have gotten off the pressure of proving ourselves to people.

On India U-19 World Cup squad: We have been hearing about Prithvi Shaw for quite some time. Even Ravi Shastri has told me about his game and the way he has faired in First-Class cricket. He has been given the captain’s role ahead of the players who are experienced than him, so it shows his abilities. The kind of opportunities you are getting such as media coverage, Live telecast, they should respect them and capitalise. They shouldn’t take pressure on themselves and instead enjoy their game.

On Kulbhushan Yadav: That’s not my area of speaking.

On fitness and work ethics: A cricketer’s career lasts from 10-15 years and you are one not professional enough then I think that’s being fair to the sport and country. The results have been relentless after bringing this change. No matter, we are up in a series or trailing, the intensity remains the same throughout. I’m really happy about the fact that the boys will walk around without being hassled. I have no doubt on the ability of our team, work ethics and intention of every player. We are on right track.

On Ashwin’s experiment: Ahswin is an experienced bowler and he is trying to experiment somethings. He is just looking to add an element to his bowling.

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