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Virat Kohli wants double points for away wins in World Test Championship

India captain says every match now has context as his team gears up for second Test against South Africa in Pune

India captain Virat Kohli during a practice session in Pune on Wednesday. Associated Press
India captain Virat Kohli during a practice session in Pune on Wednesday. Associated Press

India captain Virat Kohli has given his stamp of approval to the new ICC World Test Championship, stating that the points system has given more meaning to each match. However, he said he would like to see double points for wins away from home.

The Test championship sees the top nine teams play in six series on a home and away basis over a two-year period, leading up to the final at Lord's in June 2021, with the aim of providing context to each match and series.

Top-ranked India have started the championship with three wins from as many games and captain Kohli said the new system is good for the game.

"The importance of every game has become that much more," Kohli was quoted as saying by Reuters before the second Test against South Africa, which begins in Pune on Thursday.

"In situations like a three-match series where you probably would have played out a draw, teams are going to go for wins and get those extra points. I think it's great for Test cricket, the matches are going to be that much more exciting. It's what we all feel and we can already experience that."

However, Kohli felt away wins should carry more points. "If you would have asked me to make the points table, I would give double the points for an away Test win. That is something I would definitely have liked to see, maybe after the first edition," he said.

India won the first Test against the Proteas in Visakhapatnam by 203 runs with spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and seamer Mohammed Shami leading the way with the ball and opening batsman Rohit Sharma hitting a century in both innings. The hosts will look to take an unassailable lead into the third Test in Ranchi.

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli listens to coach Ravi Shastri during a practice session ahead of the second test match between India and South Africa in Pune, India, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)
Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri. Associated Press

FOCUS ON PITCH

While the Indian team are upbeat about their performance and the form of players, the pitch in Pune will garner the most attention. The last time Pune hosted a Test – against Australia in 2017 – the pitch deteriorated at an alarming rate as India lost by 333 runs inside three days and the ground received a 'poor' rating by the ICC.

A day before the start of the South Africa Test, the pitch sported a decent covering of grass but chances are that it will be shaved off to ensure South Africa's fast bowlers don't get a lot of help.

Which is probably why Kohli decided to not reveal the playing XI on Wednesday. Even if there is an even covering of grass, the pitch in Pune is known to be a flat one and spinners will be needed to some stage.

"It will have to be a decision taken tomorrow morning," Kohli said. "More or less our team is settled. I don't think it [green wicket] is going to play that big a factor because when the pitch is damp, it turns as well.

"Only if you have a pitch which has total grass coverage, do you think of changing your combination. Because you know it's going to dry out at some stage."

The hosts are likely to stick to their spin combination of Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, with Ishant Sharma and Shami the faster men.

The visitors, meanwhile, will look to strengthen their bowling attack and bring in either pace bowler Lungi Ngidi or out-and-out quick Anrich Nortje. Off-spinner Dane Piedt might lose his spot if that happens. Also, captain Faf du Plessis should consider moving up the order to number four or even three from his current position at five.

Updated: October 9, 2019 05:29 PM

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