India are all set to begin their Sri Lanka tour with a warm up game from 6 August in Colombo. Virat Kohli will be leading the Indian side. Kohli, who is known for his aggression, is likely to go for five bowlers in the first Test against the hosts for the first match that starts from 12 August at Galle.
Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma, along with Umesh Yadav or Varun Aaron would ideally be Kohli's bowling combination. Two of them are good all-rounders as well.
Ashwin has a batting average of 40 in Tests while Harbhajan Singh has two tons to his credit in this format. So Kohli can count these two spinners as all-rounders in this relatively young Indian side.
"Ashwin, Bhuvi and Bhajji are all handy with the bat. Ashwin has a Test average of 40 and I cannot see why he can't be that all-rounder for us. That's the challenge. Giving people goals and asking them to improve in certain aspects where the team requires.
"You need to play a stronger bowling side in order to win Test matches and it's more exciting and satisfying as well. Yes, that's a possibility (three spinners). The idea is to take 20 wickets. I strongly believe that you need to your best bowlers to play in order to give your team a chance to do that. The whole idea of playing five bowlers is that the top six have to take more responsibility," Kohli told reporters at a press conference in Chennai on Sunday.
Kohli showed his intent to do well in the upcoming series by playing for India A at Chepauk against Australia A.
India A coach Rahul Dravid was mightily impressed with this decision of Kohli to prepare for the forthcoming Test series against Sri Lanka.
Dravid also backed Kohli's attitude towards the game and felt that he would do well in the Lankan island.
Kohli also told why the India A match was crucial for him.
"It is an opportunity to have certain plans to prepare for a particular series. Actually judge ourselves on the basis of those three Test matches and analyse how many times we were able to do things actually we wanted to do. I think in one-off Test matches you do not get that opportunity," said Kohli.
Murali Vijay's fitness will be a concern for the India Test skipper as the former is suffering from a hamstring injury.
Vijay will have to prove his fitness ahead of the first Test at Galle. Kohli seemed to brush aside the concerns and went on to praise Vijay, who has averaged over 44 in the last 16 Test matches that he has played.
"I do not see any issues with Vijay's fitness. I think he is the guy who has been very solid for us at the top of the order. He has improved his game immensely in the last one and half years. He has given us very solid starts. Few niggles here and there happen in cricket and as long as it is not a serious injury, we are responsible enough to know that is match-fit before we get in to the first Test match.
"I think players deserve a bit of cooling period for them to recover from small niggles as they are very important part of the team. That is the case with Vijay. As far as I know, Vijay is almost hundred percent straightaway. I am sure he will be match-fit, in fact before the warm-up game that we play," Kohli said.
Rohit Sharma's position in the side might be dicey as the former has not been performing well in the longer format of the game. But Kohli hailed Sharma for his performances for Mumbai and belived that he will come in handy with his willow in the forthcoming tour to Sri Lanka.
"Rohit is so naturally gifted and once he is in he got massive scores for Mumbai. So we want give him that game time and ample opportunities to get at that big score and in quick time. He does not score slowly and that give the side more chance to bowl those extra 20-odd overs," said the India Test captain.