India vs England: Virat Kohli says misfiring batsmen not thinking of failure at Trent Bridge

India are considering whether to play a sixth batsman after trailing 0-2 going into the third Test following batting collapses in both matches.

cricket Updated: Aug 17, 2018 19:14 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, Nottingham
India vs England,Virat Kohli,Trent Bridge
India's Virat Kohli during nets at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on August 17, 2018. (REUTERS)

India’s under-fire batsmen are focused on the Trent Bridge Test starting on Saturday and not fretting over what would happen if they fail again, skipper Virat Kohli said ahead of the game the visitors must not lose if they are to stay alive in the five-match series.

India are considering whether to play a sixth batsman after trailing 0-2 going into the third Test following batting collapses in both matches.

Asked if had spoken to batsmen, to explain the situation they were in, he told a media conference: “I don’t think anyone is thinking like that. Those are things created on the outside. People like to make a lot (out) of nothing, basically. For us, the priority is just to win games of cricket.

“We are not thinking whether someone’s career is on the line or what is going to happen to their future. You are already asking the guys to think about something that is beyond anyone’s control. I mean when it’s your time, it’s your time.

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“Everyone has had their time in the past; no one can play for ever. But that day is not today. We need to focus on this Test and not think about whether someone’s career is on the line. That is quite a bizarre thought to have.”

Has he spoken and given batsmen security? “That is basically your thinking. I’m not thinking like that. I don’t speak to the guys like assuring them that their careers are not on the line. That, as I said, is quite a bizarre thought to have.”

Kohli said he was free of the back stiffness suffered at Lord’s. He hinted India could play a sixth batsman, but was clear there was no selection dilemma about recalling pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who has recovered from a broken left thumb, and leaving out Umesh Yadav again.

“Depends on what the surface is like. If there is going to be enough assistance for the bowlers then the extra batter might come into play, but if not, if the pitch is going to be quite even for batting and bowling then picking 20 wickets is going to be the priority.

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“The batsmen will still have to take responsibility and put runs on the board. If you don’t pick 20, as I have said in the past, you can score as many runs as you want. It is not about saving one discipline, it is about one discipline taking responsibility of their job and the other discipline taking responsibility of theirs. But both possibilities are there looking at how exciting or how spicy the pitch is going to be.”

As India trained under an overcast sky, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Hardik Pandya marked their run-up on a pitch parallel to the playing surface with Rishabh Pant, set to make his debut, ‘keeping’. Umesh and Bumrah bowled at the nets.

Bumrah made his debut in South Africa, taking 14 wickets in the series while Umesh didn’t get to play. Kohli was clear Bumrah was his choice.

“Very excited with Jasprit getting fit again. He is an attacking bowler. He bowls attacking lines and length. He is very consistent in hitting the areas required at Test level. He has shown that in South Africa as well. He is one guy who is really aggressive in his mind.

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“He wants to take the situation front on. He basically wants the batsman to feel uncomfortable in the middle. That has been his biggest strength and he relishes the challenge given an opportunity. He is a quality bowler and great to have someone like that on the park.”

Selection dilemma? “Not really. Guys who are bowling well, have done well are the ones who are going to start. That is something everyone is aware of. I don’t see any issues there.”

First Published: Aug 17, 2018 19:01 IST