Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - 'Will decide team combination based on weather' - Kohli. Kohli had missed the opening Test.
Kohli had missed the opening Test.
With the expected formation of a low pressure zone over the east central Arabian Sea, Mumbai – the venue of the second Test between India and New Zealand – is expected to be hit by heavy rains. The teams are as uncertain over how that will impact the match, set to be played at the Wankhede Stadium, from December 3 (Friday), and Indian captain Virat Kohli isn't divulging much on how the team will be composed for the last match of the series.
While his return to the side would mean a certain ouster for one of the batters, if India play the same combination, Kohli says that the understanding of how the conditions evolve — and will be expected to evolve – will play a role in the composition of the team.
“We have to keep the weather and changing conditions into account while discussing combinations,” Kohli said on Thursday (December 2). “We will decide the team combination based on that. At the end of the day you can't assume that the weather will stay the same for all five days. Even if it changes, our decision will be based on what can possibly change.”
India had played two pacers and three spinners in the first Test, which ended in a thrilling draw at Kanpur's Green Park Stadium. However, with more bounce and pace expected in Wankhede, Kohli expects greater rewards for the faster bowlers, one that could lead the team management to tinker with the combination.
The Indian captain reckons, in Mumbai, there will be ample reward for everyone who is playing ‘disciplined' cricket. “It looks like a typical Wankhede wicket, we expect it to have nice bounce, there's value for all kinds of bowlers on the Wankhede,” he said. “When you bat you can get runs as well. So I think it's a great wicket for good cricket and all skillsets are in the play all the time. Which is a great position to be in because then you know that you can utilise your resources very well, and the team that does it better has more chances of winning the Test match.
“You go in with the knowledge that you can use your bowlers – whether it's the fast bowlers, spinners, whoever it is – and the batsmen can find value in playing good shots, in being solid at the crease and still believe that you can score runs. Even if the situation is difficult you can very well play a good knock from there on because the pitch allows you to.
“So I think this is a pitch which demands a lot of discipline, but at the same time the rewards of the discipline are also much higher in percentage compared to some of the other venues where spin might be dominant and the fast bowlers don't come into play. But on the Wankhede I don't think that's ever been the case and I know for a fact that all the bowlers, especially in red-ball cricket, they really enjoy playing at the Wankhede and bowling on this pitch, and the batsmen love it (as well).”
While much of the selection conundrum will be around finding a place for the in-form Shreyas Iyer, who notched up a century and a fifty in Kanpur, in a middle order where the experienced duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane haven't fired, there will also be a tussle for the wicketkeepers' slot, where KS Bharat substituted brilliantly behind the wickets for Wriddhiman Saha, who suffered from spasms on his neck.
Kohli confirmed that Saha has regained fitness and is available for selection for the second Test, but despite his gritty knock in the second innings, there will be enough for the team management to ponder over.
“You have to obviously understand the situation of where the team is placed, you have to understand where individuals stand at certain stages during the course of a long season. So you have to obviously communicate well, you have to speak to the individuals and approach them in a way where you explain things to them properly,” Kohli said about the challenges of managing players when they aren't selected in the XI.
“Mostly it's been combination based whenever we've done changes in the past and we've explained to the individuals and they've understood the mindset behind going in with a certain combination. It's not a difficult thing to do when there is collective trust and belief in the group that we're working towards the same vision.
“Along the line there are ups and downs, and we understand that as cricketers or as sportspeople in general. It's never a thing that you can say I'm absolutely okay or happy about being told that the combination doesn't allow me to play. But that's the dynamic of team sport and at the end of the day we always prioritise the team first and making sure that we take care of individuals along the way.
“That's something that we've done consistently – as a Test team we've backed a set of players who have done the job for the Indian cricket team in the last 5-6 years, and we maintain and continue to maintain that they are an integral part of the larger scheme of things, of the core group of the Indian Test team, and they've always been players that we've relied upon on many occasions, they've done the job.
“It's upon realising and being aware of what's happening, and you find the right space and the right way to approach people. Obviously, along with the management and coaching staff, discussions happen in a very rounded manner and decisions are taken after a collective set of ideas that come to the table and we all discuss any of the issues that we have to address.”