Speaking about Kohli’s state of mind amid the ongoing controversy, Dravid said at a pre-match press conference ahead of the second Test, "I know there's been a lot of noise on other issues outside of the group, even leading into this particular Test match. But honestly, in terms of keeping the morale high, it's not been very difficult because it's been led by the skipper himself.
"Virat has been absolutely phenomenal over the over the last 20 days that we've been here. The way he's trained the way he's practised the way he's connected with the group. He has been phenomenal and I could not speak more highly of him," Dravid added.
Kohli has not attended any press conference in South Africa following the controversy created in the wake of his statements during the pre-departure media interaction in India. Asked why Kohli has not spoken to the press, Dravid asserted, "There is no specific reason for that. I don't decide this but I am told he will be speaking on eve of his 100th Test. Then you can ask all the questions on his 100th Test."
The third Test of the series in South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town will be Kohli’s 100th Test.
Dravid also opened up on Kohli’s batting form and his inability to convert starts. The Indian Test captain has not scored an international century since November 2019. Speaking about Kohli’s woes, Dravid elaborated, "As coach, there's not really too much you can do once the game starts... there's not too much that you can control in the results...we're really looking to prepare well and get the team into a good space.”
"...the way he's committed to his own preparation, his own practice. And also just the way he's connected with the group over the last two weeks on and off the field. He has truly been a fantastic leader. So, that's really helped in creating a really good space leading into the first Test match. A lot of that was led by Virat and his leadership really came to the fore. It's been a pleasure to work with someone like him," the 48-year-old added
India are 1-0 up in the three-match Test series, having won the Centurion Test by 113 runs
--By A Cricket Correspondent