Kohli seeks new start as Haseeb set to debut
Indian skipper Virat Kohli insisted he would not be haunted by past failures against England when battle resumes on Wednesday, and said he was now a better player than during a nightmare tour two years ago.
India's Test captain is in the form of his life after hitting two double centuries in the last six months. But he has a dismal record against England, scoring just 322 runs in 17 Test match innings.
When India toured England in 2014, Kohli averaged just 13 as India lost the series 3-1 in what was the low point of an outstanding career.
But speaking on the eve of the start of a five-Test home series, Kohli said his struggle last time round had helped him improve as a batsman and neither he nor his teammates would dwell on the past.
"It was a phase when I did not perform too well," Kohli said.
"It was England but it could have been any other country in the world. It made me realise that I need to up my game.
"I am thankful to England as I have been a very improved cricketer from thereon. I just take it (that phase) as a setback in my career."
Kohli was not the only Indian to struggle in England, with the team's main spin bowler Ravichandran Ashwin taking just three wickets. But he is expected to be a different proposition back home.
For England 19-year-old Haseeb Hameed will become the youngest player to open the batting in England's Test history after being named in the starting XI for today's first Test.
England skipper Alastair Cook said Ben Duckett, who opened in the last Test against Bangladesh, would drop down the order for the match which begins Wednesday in Rajkot. The struggling Gary Ballance has been dropped.
"Unfortunately in the (last) six Test matches he (Ballance) hasn't quite scored the runs which he'd have liked to, so it has given someone else an opportunity and it's a very exciting day for a young guy who has impressed everyone so far on this trip," Cook said of Hameed.
"You often wonder if a 19-year-old coming on a tour will be overawed and he hasn't been at all. He's really looked good in the nets, the way he has trained and has gone about his business.
"Nothing seems to faze him. He is more experienced than his 19 years suggest.
“Every team he has played in, he has scored runs. He should be very proud and hopefully do well. "