Star Indian batsman Virat Kohli has described England as “one of the toughest venues for the sub-continent teams,” but said the team was focused on putting up a strong performance in the five-Test series to begin the transition of the young Indian side to a high-quality one.

The opening Test begins here on Wednesday, and the teams have started their preparation.

“This tour is right up there with South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. I would say these are the four places where the sub-continent players do want to perform well. I, too, have that in my mind,” said Kohli.

Special place

“It is a pretty special place to play cricket and I’ll be playing a Test at Lord’s for the first time. All in all, it is a very exciting tour for me personally because I have never played Test cricket here and I am really looking forward to it.

“I have some goals I want to achieve, and I have been thinking about them. I am pretty excited about playing here,” added Kohli.

The Indians have not done too well against England in their recent encounters, losing the 2012-13 home series by a 2-1 margin and suffering a humiliating 4-0 whitewash in England in 2011.

New side

Though this might appear a big burden, Kohli said it won’t affect the new-look Indian team.

“We haven’t spoken about what we did wrong in that series (2011). We’ve spoken about the positives we could take out of it. That was a different time. Three years down the line, we have a totally new side. Most of us haven’t played Tests here,” he said.

“It’ll be exciting for us to experience the conditions and everyone’s eager to go out there and see what it’s like. You get full crowds, everyone’s involved in the game and everyone knows the game.

“It’s not about washing that (2011) series off, erasing those memories. That will stay in the history books, whether we like it or not. All we can focus on is the new series we have here, and put in a strong performance which would be a starting point for this young team to go ahead and be a quality Test side.

Big plus

“A guy who played brilliantly in that series is mentoring us right now, speaking about his experiences — Rahul Dravid. That’s a big plus.

“Dravid has spoken about the experiences he’s had in England, scoring those hundreds and what he felt getting those runs in tough conditions. That’s all you need as a batsman, getting into a player’s head who has done it all here and getting into that zone yourself. It helps big time,” Kohli added.

More In: Cricket | Sport