Virat Kohli backs under fire opener Shikhar Dhawan, terms him as impact player


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The rain affected Test match in Bengaluru did not please the India Test captain Virat Kohli at all. The superstar batsman has expressed his disappointment at not getting any play for the last four days despite bowling out South Africa for 214 on the first day of the second Test. “It was very disappointing. The second and third day’s play being called off was very frustrating as we had a very good first day. Toughest part is to set up a Test match and build it from there on. We were on course to do that, to get control and capitalise on it. But as the weather turned out to be such, that we had no control over next four days,” the sadness was writ large on Kohli’s face as he spoke to media at the post-match conference.

“Whether you have momentum or not, it is always annoying for any side to come to ground and have no play. The motive is to play positive cricket. To have a result in day and half was unrealistic but we thought that if we could get the fourth and fifth day, may be we could bat the fourth day and try and put pressure on them on the fifth day. We bowled the No 1 Test side out under 3 sessions on a decent batting track, with no demons for sure. Thinking about weather can put you off but guys were in the zone.” Kohli added that, not much can be done about matches which are affected by inclement weather as logic of having reserve days does not hold good.

“I think in a Test match, if you lose four days, it will not be any good to have an extra reserve day. May be if we had lost one or two days, you can bring in a change which makes sense. But if you have lost four days, then reserve day is of no logic. I don’t know what can be the solution,” he said. “If you have rule, then it should be like, the number of days lost should be compensated but then it would mean losing four days turns this into a 9-day Test match, which is unrealistic. I don’t think there would be any change as it had remained as it has been for years. You have to take it in your stride.” Kohli also strongly stood by Shikhar Dhawan, who bagged a pair in the last game but looked in good touch during his brief innings of 45 not out.

“If you call scoring two hundreds in last 3 Test matches a struggle, then I don’t know what is it that you call being in-form? In the last 3 Tests, he (Dhawan) has got a hundred in Galle before that in Bangladesh. Unfortunately, he got injured after that and played his first match in Mohali. So let’s not be too harsh because of two or three innings.”

“This is international cricket and Shikhar will play numerous number of innings. We will have to be patient. He is an impact player and we have to give him as much confidence as we can possibly. When he gets going, he will win us matches. He is not out of form. He is batting beautifully and hitting the ball well. We should not put too much pressure on him. Had there been some game, he could have possibly scored a hundred,” the skipper was firmly behind him.

Kohli also said that, in this team, no one plays for a milestone and a 25 or 30-odd in team’s cause is equally appreciated as much as a hundred.

“Jadeja’s 38 in the first innings at Mohali was as important as Pujara’s score in the larger context of the game. (Wriddhiman) Saha’s 25-odd runs were important as Vijay or Pujara as it gave us competitive target. “We are not putting numbers in front of names. There can be an impact with a score of 30 and we will let that player know that he is making an impact.” Kohli also believes in ‘horses for courses’ theory as he does not think that one can be stubborn about having a set all-rounder across all formats.

“Stuart is an all-rounder, who can bowl consistent medium pace and also be good with the bat. (Ravindra) Jadeja is potentially the right kind of all-rounder for us. Play as mainline spinner or as an all-rounder. You can’t be stubborn about as someone will do the job in all kinds of conditions.”



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