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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

‘He can change the complexion of a match,’ Virat Kohli identifies key player for Team India

India vs South Africa: India's skipper Virat Kohli heaped praise on Mohammed Shami ahead of the second Test match at Pune.

cricket Updated: Oct 10, 2019 07:32 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India's skipper Virat Kohli
India's skipper Virat Kohli(PTI)

India captain Virat Kohli showered his praise on a ‘responsible’ Mohammed Shami, who he believed understands the situation of the game a lot better. Kohli’s comments came on the eve of the second Test match against South Africa at Pune. Shami had left the South African batting line-up in tatters with his late swing on a fifth day track at Visakhapatnam. Shami picked up 5 wickets in the second innings as India beat South Africa by a massive margin of 203 runs in the first Test to go 1-0 up in three-match series.

“Now, he (Shami) is taking the responsibility. We don’t need to push Shami anymore. We don’t need to tell him ‘come on, you need to bowl this spell for us’. He wants the ball, he understands the situation when he’s given the ball,” Kohli said on the eve of the second Test here on Wednesday.

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Talking about Shami, the skipper once again spoke about how Shami’s ability to get movement off the pitch makes him deadly even on the most unsuitable surfaces for fast bowling.

“I think on the pitches we play, I don’t see anyone with so much seam movement apart from him (Shami),” the skipper said.

What makes Shami stand apart is his ability to do it regularly when situations look hopeless.

“He is someone who can change the complexion of the match totally when you don’t see it coming. His skill is obviously there for everyone to see. Especially, in the second innings, when the situations are difficult he comes in and does the job everytime. It’s great,” said Kohli.

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Players accepting responsibilities at different stages of the game is something that has “amazed” the captain.

While there has been sporadic rain with forecast of further downpour during the course of the match, the skipper didn’t seem very interested in changing his team combination.

“More or less, our team is settled and I don’t think pitch will play that big a factor because when the pitch is damp, it turns as well. It’s not that only seamers are predominantly effective, spinners will also be effective on all five days,” said Virat, effectively dismissing suggestions of playing a third seamer.

“Unless you have a pitch that has total grass coverage, only then you think of combination too much. Because you do know that it will dry out at some stage and you can’t go with one-sided (one dimensional) attack and not have balance,” he explained.

When he was asked whether Rohit Sharma has “fulfilled” his expectations as an opener, he said in jest: “It’s overflowing and just not filled.” And then, urged the media to stop dissecting Rohit the opener.

“Come on, give the guy a break now. He’s done well, let him enjoy his batting at the top of the order. Let him just have fun like he does in white ball cricket. Stop focussing on what Rohit is going to do. He’s in great space.”

(With input from agencies)

First Published: Oct 09, 2019 15:45 IST

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