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Sunday, February 28, 2021

India vs England: Virat Kohli explains decision to bench Kuldeep Yadav in Chennai Test

After India were beaten by England in the first encounter, Virat Kohli hinted at a change in the playing XI for the upcoming Test.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: February 10, 2021 9:55:29 am
virat kohli, india vs englandVirat Kohli was comfortable in his first test after paternity leave, scoring 72 until he was undone by a Ben Stokes in-cutter. (BCCI TV/Screengrab)

India suffered its first home loss in four years after England won the Chennai Test by 227 runs on Tuesday.

India, handed a 420-run target to win but batting for a draw, was bowled out for 192 half an hour before tea.

According to India captain Virat Kohli, India’s batting succumbed to the scoreboard pressure in the first innings, thus handing the advantage to the visitors. Kohli also defended the decision to play left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem instead of a more experienced Kuldeep Yadav.

Stating that he has no regrets over the selection, Kohli said, “I think, Test probably shifted in their favour when we batted in the first innings.”

“We were looking to bat better but I don’t think there was enough application shown by us as a batting unit,” Kohli said at the post-match press conference.

“Even if someone got a hundred in either innings, still we were pretty much behind in the game. There’s not one way to play the game and we understand that quite well and our endeavour in the future games is going to be long partnerships,” said Kohli.

Explaining why Kuldeep was not a part of the playing XI, he said,”…when you are playing two off-spinners, Kuldeep more or less becomes a similar kind of spinner (bringing it into the right-handers). So, we needed variety. We were quite clear what combination we wanted to play, and there are no regrets whatsoever.”

However, he did pass a hint that the management could rework the combination in the coming matches. The second Test is also scheduled to be held here from February 13.

“Moving forward, we will look at combinations, that bring us variety in the bowling attack and not (be) one-dimensional, where the ball is only turning away from the bat.”

When asked if the England team, coming off a series win in Sri Lanka, was better prepared than India, the India captain said, “You could say they are well prepared but to say they are better prepared than us in our own conditions is not an accurate assessment,” Kohli, who is known for his plain speak, put it as he saw it.

“That was something that was said when Australia won the first Test (in Pune) in 2017. So look, we don’t jump the gun or come to conclusions too early as a side. What’s said on the outside what is being perceived and discussed doesn’t bother us at all. We never really focussed on that and we won’t do that moving forward as a team,” Kohli added.

On the question of Ajinkya Rahane’s form, the captain backed his deputy and put out a strong statement when he said, “Look I got bowled as well. If you are trying to dig something out, you are not going to get it because there is nothing. Ajinkya, I have said this many times in the past as well.

“Along with (Chetshwar) Pujara, he is our most important Test batsman and he continues to be as we believe in his abilities and he is an impact player,” Kohli vehemently backed his deputy.

“If you are talking about MCG Test, he stood up and scored a hundred when the team wanted it the most. You can look at the number of innings and what happens from thereon, the reality is we won the series in Australia.”

(With PTI inputs)

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