India national cricket team skipper Virat Kohli urged his players to see the massive defeat in the first Test against Australia cricket team in Pune as an opportunity to rediscover the intent that was missing.
“It (the loss) is something we see as an opportunity rather than a setback,” said Virat Kohli, whose unbeaten run of 19 Tests as skipper was halted with the 333-run defeat within three days on a rank turner, on Friday, ahead of the second Test starting at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore
AGGRESSIVE APPROACH PROMISED
The India skipper warned Australia that any tentativeness seen in the Pune defeat was a thing of the past.
“There won’t be any hesitation from here till the end of the series,” he promised. Virat Kohli seemed to be hinting at Indian batsmen’s unsure approach against Australia’s spin bowlers in Pune.
The India skipper, however, hinted there could be more than one change in the playing eleven. India were shot out for 105 and 107, their lowest combined total in a home Test as they were swept aside by left-arm spinner, Steve O’Keefe, who captured 12 for 70.
“There are all kinds of options, there might be a few surprises,” he said, when asked whether off-spinner Jayant Yadav, who played as a third spinner but failed to impress on a turning MCA Stadium pitch.
He backed Yadav, a useful lower order bat as well, but said the Indian team management was seeking consensus on the eleven, adding with a smile, “We are almost there!”.
He added: “I can’t say whether five bowlers will play or four bowlers will play”, and whether an extra batsman will come in.
KARUN NAIR HAS LONG STINT
Karun Nair, yet to play since scoring a triple century in the Chennai Test win over England in December as the middle-order is packed, could come in at No 6, especially after Indian batsmen struggled against spin duo, O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon.
“All three combinations are possible, depending on the conditions,” Kohli added. That would mean either playing an extra, sixth batsman and fielding four bowlers, dropping the third spinner, or making a change in the pace set up. With Umesh Yadav in the middle of an outstanding run, he is a certainty and the focus then would be on Ishant.
Local batsman Nair had a long stint in the nets on Friday morning, getting throw downs as well as facing pace, including Mohammed Shami, who bowled from a full run up to indicate that he is close to full fitness after being sidelined in the middle of the England series because of knee trouble.
Virat Kohli said he was not under any pressure, after it was pointed to him that his counterpart, Steve Smith, has said India would be going into the Test. “Does it look like? It’s fine whatever he wants to say,” Kohli responded.
Back-up all-rounder Hardik Pandya is nursing a shoulder niggle, while Ishant Sharma, who didn’t have a great game in Pune didn’t have much of a bowl with Bhuvneshwar Kumar having a long stint at the nets.
Virat Kohli said the defeat has led to the team looking at areas they had to work on, which sometimes was difficult during a busy season.