Updated: November 5, 2015 8:17:25 am
Of the six Test matches in which he has led India, captain Virat Kohli has played five bowlers in four of them. Three of these games in which the Indian bowling attack had extra teeth were the ones during the series against Sri Lanka earlier this year. India recorded a come-from-behind series win in Sri Lanka.
If Harbhajan Singh played as the fifth bowler in the first Test match at Galle, all-rounder Stuart Binny took his place in the next two matches. Binny might not be in the scheme of things for the first Test match against South Africa starting on Thursday, but captain Kohli was steadfast in his belief that fielding five bowlers was the way forward for this Indian team.
“I certainly believe in playing five bowlers. Even if you make 500 runs but if you are one bowler short, then there will come a session where you will not get wickets and you would feel that the extra bowler could have picked up a wicket. So the top five batsmen have to take the responsibility, along with the wicket-keeper. Then your all-rounder comes in. In this scenario, even if you post 350-400 you have a chance to take 20 wickets. Test match hamein bowler hi jeetayenge,” Kohli said.
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On Monday, Ravi Shastri had said that he is not averse to the idea of playing four bowlers, including three spinners.
Kohli, when asked about the four-bowler strategy, if the pitch conditions were favourable and the weather not harsh, said that it was very ‘unlikely’.
“In such conditions, if we go with four bowlers, then obviously that works sometimes. I can keep that in mind but that is highly unlikely. We expect our batsman to take responsibility and I would rather love to have an extra bowler who can give me 10 to 15 overs with fresh legs then having someone who is tired and cannot complete overs,” Kohli said.
With all the talk revolving around the pitch at Mohali, Kohli believes that too much is being made about the pitch rather than the opposition and the context of the game.
“Firstly it is a very exciting day tomorrow. Captaining in home conditions for the first time is always a good thing. Secondly, it’s my birthday as well and that doubles up the excitement. I think there is too much focus given to the pitch. Whenever we travel abroad, the focus is never on the pitch. The focus has always been how we are going to struggle against their bowlers and how our bowlers will get hit for runs. I do not really care what’s been said. We just have to go out and play,” Kohli said.
Include Jadeja in five: Sunny
New Delhi: Former captain Sunil Gavaskar said that he would favour India going with four specialist bowlers and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in a five-pronged attack in the first Test against South Africa beginning here on Thursday.
Gavaskar told NDTV that Jadeja can be a wicket-taking bowler with his left-arm spin as he has done in the past and can also contribute with the bat, making him ideal for the No.7 spot.
Asked whether India should go with five bowlers against South Africa, Gavaskar said, “Having five bowlers gives you more options. But often the fifth bowler does not get much chance to bowl. In Sri Lanka, Harbhajan Singh did not get to bowl as many overs as you want. Here, Jadeja can be very handy as he can bat and also bowl. As a bowler he can get wickets on Indian pitches and conditions. As a batsman he should apply his mind, stay at the wicket and he will get runs,” said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar said he would pick Jadeja in the playing XI as he is the ideal candidate for the No.7 spot. “Pick Jadeja in the playing XI. He can bowl beautiful deliveries as he did a couple of years back against Australian captain Michael Clarke in Mohali,” he said. PTI
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