India vs England: Half-fit Virat Kohli can be more dangerous, says England coach Trevor Bayliss
Virat Kohli’s back trouble flared up during the Lord’s Test, which India lost by an innings and 159 runs, but England coach Trevor Bayliss warned the hosts on Thursday that he could be even more dangerous in the Trent Bridge game starting on Saturday.
Bayliss was asked if he felt Kohli’s back injury was a blessing in disguise for England, 2-0 up and looking forward to winning the third Test and sealing the series. The hosts though are aware the India skipper is one man who can turn things around.
“It could mean he’s more of a dangerous player,” Bayliss said. “Through history there are a lot of players who have played with an injury and scored runs and taken wickets. I don’t know if that focuses the mind more ... but I have just seen him take some slip catches without any problems, so I’m sure he’ll be playing. That won’t change our approach to the way we play him.”
Kohli wasn’t sure he will be able to play with his usual intensity, but his presence is vital if India are to bounce back. Indian batsmen were all at sea against world class swing bowling, led by James Anderson, in the first two Tests.
The Trent Bridge ground is pretty open, not surrounded by huge stands, and the breeze will help the ball swing. It is no wonder Anderson has a great record. He has taken 60 wickets at an average of 18.95 at the picturesque venue.
“Normally there is a bit of swing around, we’re looking forward to it being the same as Lord’s. That would be nice.” India were shot out for 107 and 130 in the second Test.
The Australian acknowledged the challenge for teams playing away from home. India’s last two creditable overseas series wins came in 2007 (1-0 v England) and 2009 (1-0 v New Zealand). England’s last win came in South Africa in 2015.
“You don’t really get a lot of time practising in those conditions. Look around the world, the wickets these days do favour the home team a lot. And I think that’s fair enough.”
Though many India players featured in the limited-overs series ahead of the Tests, having scheduled that way to get used to English conditions, team management was criticised by former skipper Sunil Gavaskar for turning the only four-day first-class game against Essex into a three-day practice game.
So, more warm-up games are needed? “It’s the way the world is going. Every country is putting up with, or has to approach the tours in the same way. There isn’t one country that is favoured. The team that is No1 is the one that has played the best away from home, and that is currently India.
“But it’s a challenge for every team. The practice that you get before a tour… the difficulty is there’s no time to spend 3-4 weeks before a Test series getting practice in. There’s so much cricket on.
“And the players do need rest in between. If you try and schedule too much, the players will burn out and you’ll have to rest them from international games. That’s one of the small problems.”