India vs West Indies: Squad selection is not my job, says Virat Kohlihttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/india-vs-west-indies-squad-virat-kohli-karun-nair-5384518/

India vs West Indies: Squad selection is not my job, says Virat Kohli

Karun Nair's omission from India's Test squad against West Indies has caused a controversy ahead of the first Test in Rajkot.

India tour of West Indies 2018
Indian cricket team coach Ravi Shastri with captain Virat Kohli during a practice session. (Source: PTI)

With Karun Nair’s omission from India’s Test squad against West Indies causing a controversy, the Indian captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday asserted that it his not his space to comment on the team’s selection criteria. Speaking to reporters, Kohli said that selectors are doing their work on their own. “Selectors have already spoken about it and it is not my place to say. There are selectors doing their job. You can conveniently merge everything and make it a circle where everyone is doing their job and not focusing on what people are saying on the outside,” he said.

Nair was dropped from the squad despite not being given a chance to be included in the playing XI in the 5-match Test series against England, while Hanuma Vihari, who was not a part of the squad for first three Tests in the England tour, pipped Nair to be included in the 5th Test, and also made it into the squad for the 2-Test series against West Indies.

Kohli said that it is not his job to select the team. “If a person has spoken about it already, it should not be brought in here again. The chief selector has already spoken to the player of what I know. I don’t think I need to comment on that. Selection is not my job. As a team, we are doing what we are supposed to. Everyone should be aware of their respective jobs,” he said.

The 29-year-old further added that people should realise that not all the decisions are taken from “one place”. “People should also realise that it is not a joint thing everywhere. That is the confusion right now where people are combining everything and thinking everything is happening from one place which is not true,” he said.

‘Change in top order’

Virat Kohli during a training session. (Source: BCCI)

Kohli further went on to talk about India’s batting line-up and said that “enough space” will be given to the new top-order batsmen to cement their place. With the 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw set to make his Test debut for India against West Indies on Thursday, Kohli said, “We have a change at the top of the order. We will give these guys enough space and enough chances to feel comfortable at that position. We want them to be confident of what they are doing.”

Kohli further went on to add that India’s lower-order looks settled despite Rishabh Pant being fairly new to the team. “The lower-order is all about contribution, there is no change needed there. Rishabh (Pant) is new but Ashwin and Jadeja have performed in so many games at home they just need to replicate it abroad. Apart from the top-order getting cemented, I don’t think with these Two Test there is a lot we are looking at. Rest of the things are quite settled,” he said.

The captain added that if India’s lower-order batsmen had chipped in with runs abroad, the results could have been different in South Africa and England. “Everyone on the outside also knows the areas we need to improve on. If you look at the sides which win Test matches, contribution at the top and contribution of the lower-order are more crucial than contribution of the middle order. Whatever happens in middle order is connected to either what top-order or lower-order does. The reason England were better than us because their lower-order did well. I won’t say their top-order did better than us. We realise that,” he said.

Advertising

The skipper further addressed the criticisms regarding his team making too many changes and said it is all about selecting the best playing XI. “In the past, most of the changes have been made in the bowling combination and people have conveniently taken otherwise. The bowlers that have sat out have never felt they have been hard done by. The motive has always been to pick the best eleven and we have hardly tinkered with the batting order barring a couple of guys who have not been in form. We have utilised the conditions to the maximum wherever we have gone,” he said.

‘Feels rejuvenated after the break’

West Indies tour of India 2018
Virat Kohli was rested during Asia Cup (Source: Reuters/File)

The right-hand batsman, who was rested from the Asia Cup went on to talk about the extensive workload and said that he feels “rejuvenated” after the break. “I feel rejuvenated again both mentally and physically. I needed the break after the intensity with which the tours of South Africa and England went. People usually talk about workloads but they don’t usually understand the concept. They refer to workload as the number of games played. There is no workload if you make zero in every game. If I bat for six hours that is workload,” he said.

He further added that it was necessary for him to take a break with the World Cup coming up next year. “I definitely needed a break because of my back . Looking at the World Cup these things are very important to consider, to give players ample rest and opportunity to train well and come back stronger. You don’t want them breaking down in crucial times,” he said.

The first Test between India and West Indies begin from October 4, 2018.