Kohli-Smith war..Virat says Aussie mind games will not work on me

Bengaluru: Countering rival Australian captain Steve Smith's assertion that India were under pressure due to an unexpected debacle in the series-opener, home skipper Virat Kohli asserted that he and his team are relaxed.Smith, speaking to media on the eve of the second Test, said they were just one win away from reclaiming the series and the hosts must be feeling the heat since they are trailing.

"I think they will feel under a little bit of pressure. Obviously, going into this series, all I heard was 4-0 to them. So they're one down and need to come back. We are one win away from the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Things can happen pretty quickly here. So we might be one or two sessions away from getting that back. I'm sure they'll feel under a bit of pressure," Smith said.

When asked about Smith's views, Kohli laughed off the suggestions as "mind games."

"Me? As a team? Does it look like (under pressure)? I'm pretty relaxed. I'm happy. I'm smiling. It's fine, those are his views. I think it's time we focus on our skills more than what Australia is saying or preparing like. I know these minds games in these press conferences are something they're very good at."

"We are still going to play the cricket that we have played for the last two years and see where the series ends after the fourth game."

Kohli also played down the threat posed by Australian pace attack led by Mitchell Starc.

"I don't think there will be any extra sort of variation added to his bowling suddenly. He is the bowler he is. We have to accept that and face him the best way as a batsman," he said.

The questions kept veering towards the Pune loss and parallels were drawn with the infamous 2015 loss to Sri Lanka in Galle, which was followed by an unbeaten streak that ended last month.

"It was basically a scenario where we look at a situation differently. It is similar when you bat and bowl you try to break a partnership by taking three wickets in a spell. I think we believed as a team that we can win from that position. I think we have more experience and belief in the team that we had back then," he added.

Kohli said it is never a good idea to get either too excited by a win or too deflated by a loss.

"We are all professional cricketers but sometimes when you are winning lot of games you don't tend to focus on to improve as such, because someone or the other would step in," he reasoned.

"When the whole team does not execute the things you want to, you understand a lot of things to work on and that's always a good sign...you can't take anything for granted during a Test match. I think these things are also very important in your cricket journey," he said.

The Indian cricket team skipper assured that his team will never repeat the kind of "bad performance" and "lack of intent" that led to the humiliating opening Test loss to Australia in Pune.

The Indians were hammered by 333 runs in the first Test inside three days in a stunning defeat, which ended their 19-match unbeaten streak.

Ahead of the second Test starting here tomorrow, Kohli said the hosts have learnt their lessons from the debacle.

"You will not see such a bad performance again, I will assure you that," said the feisty captain in a pre-match press conference.

"It is important to accept defeats. We lost the Pune match because of lack of intent. Australia played better cricket. It is important to accept defeat, if you go by your ego or ignore it, it will affect you only. It doesn't mean losing in Pune would result in us losing the other matches also," he added.

Kohli said it was a rare collective failure for the Indians.

"Sometimes such defeats are necessary. This gave us a platform to understand where we lacked. It happens very rarely that the whole team does not perform, this is what happened in the last match. We learnt a lot from that loss," Kohli said.

"Even if we win or lose, our preparation remains the same. The intensity remains the same even if we lose or win a match. Basically you don't change the practice depending upon the result," he added.

The swashbuckling batsman, who endured a rare failure with the bat in Pune, said he expects the familiarity with the pitch to work in favour of India here.

"I have played a lot of games here. I don't think the Bangalore wicket has changed over the years. No surprises at all. Whenever we have played Test cricket we have done well. We take all these things into account," he said.

"We always play well at this stadium. Even the last Test that we played here we won against Australia. These things are big positives for us. We know exactly how this wicket plays and we know exactly what to do with this sort of wicket," he added.

Off-spinner Jayant Yadav drew criticism for his below par performance in the first Test where he took just two wickets. But Kohli refused to say whether he would be dropped.

"These are perceptions. We have our ideas that we will address as management and go with best combination possible. Jayant has been outstanding. You can't put pressure on the guy who has played only one series. The way he has grabbed his spot, it has been outstanding. He is an intelligent cricketer," he asserted.

PTI