India captain Virat Kohli on Saturday (December 30) said the team had cancelled a two-day warm-up match ahead of the upcoming three-Test series in South Africa in order to focus on intense training sessions, in which the visitors can change the nature of wickets according to their needs.
The 29-year-old pointed out that the team could not have tried different things if they had played the warm-up match.
India had requested Cricket South Africa (CSA) to cancel their two-day warm-up match against CSA XI and opted for a two-day practice session.
The visitors, under the watchful eyes of the support staff, had two training sessions on Saturday at the Western Province Cricket Club. In sessions that lasted for more than four hours, the batsmen sweated it out at the nets according to their batting positions, according to BCCI's official website.
The bowlers were able to extract a lot of bounce and carry from the centre wicket at the venue. They had frequent discussions after their bowling spells with head coach Ravi Shastri and bowling coach Bharat Arun.
"If you look at the wicket we are playing on right now, it's not even going to be 15 percent of what we will get in the game. We understand that. There is no point wasting two days, guys going in, scoring quick fifties and coming out. We would rather have them do two sessions like today, get into the Test match zone and test ourselves," Kohli told the media in Cape Town on Saturday.
He added: "We can try and prepare the wickets the way you want to. But if you are playing a two-day game there is no chance of changing the wicket at different times of the day.
"Here we have more freedom to put more water on the wicket, roll it, make it harder come tomorrow's practice session and you have conditions you want. You are never sure whether you are getting quality practice games or not. We would rather have practice sessions that are in our control."
'We definitely believe we can win'
India will now directly head into the first Test, starting January 5 in Cape Town. A lot is expected of Kohli's number one-ranked Test team, especially after their dominant run at home over the last two seasons.
However, the visitors are expected to face stern challenges over the next few weeks as Indian teams in the past have always struggled to cope up with the fast and bouncy conditions in the African nation.
Notably, no Indian team in the past has won a series in South Africa. However, Kohli is confident of bucking the trend and banks on his bowling attack and "experienced" batsmen to do the job.
"I feel the kind of bowling attack we have and the kind of batting experience we have, we definitely believe we can win here. There is no two ways about it. If we don't have that mindset there is no point of getting on that flight as well," Kohli said.
"We come to South Africa knowing that the wickets will be different from back home. We are prepared about what we are going to get here. We are under no delusions as to what we are going to be presented with.
"Come the fifth of January we are ready for it."