To play or not to play: Virat Kohli keeps Australia guessing in Dharamsala
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To play or not to play: Virat Kohli keeps Australia guessing in Dharamsala

Virat Kohli, whose shoulder injury has put him in doubt for the Dharamsala Test, batted for 20 minutes in the nets session but undertook a light workout.

cricket Updated: Mar 24, 2017 15:49 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, Dharamsala
Virat Kohli,India vs Australia,Dharamsala
Virat Kohli is nursing a shoulder injury going into the fourth Test match against Australia in Dharamsala.(AP)

In the crucial practice session in Dharamsala on Friday ahead of the Test against Australia, all eyes were on Virat Kohli and how his injured shoulder was coping up.

The Indian team arrived at the ground at 9:30 AM and after a 20-minute huddle, the players decided to warm-up. But, within two minutes of warming-up, Kohli clutched his right shoulder and looked to be in some discomfort. After a slight pause, he decided to continue with the warm-ups. After five minutes, the players decided to indulge in some foot volley.

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There were 16 players, with only Murali Vijay being absent. The centre of attention in the foot volley though was Ishant, who indulged in plenty of aggression and banter with the players. The tall fast bowler was the most vocal of all the players. Mohammed Shami, who had bowled in the nets on Thursday, practised in the warm-up. Kohli showed no signs of discomfort during the game and it seemed all was fine.

After playing foot-volley for close to 25 minutes, the players decided to head into the second practice area for the all-important batting session.

Kohli bats without discomfort

The first four batsmen who lined up were Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair and KL Rahul. Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar started proceedings. Umesh looked to be in great rhythm as he regularly beat Rahul with swing and pace. Bhuvneshwar, on the other hand, had a lengthy bowling stint as he bowled to Karun Nair. Ishant, who was the most vocal in the first session, played the role of an umpire.

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However, the focus shifted once again to Kohli strode out to the middle carrying his own batting kit on his shoulder. He walked to the side of the first net and batted with some light throwdowns from a local net bowler. However, after five minutes, he padded up and batted in the nets. He looked to be in good touch and batted without much of discomfort. He had a 20-minute batting session, which slightly delayed his scheduled press conference at 1:00 PM.

Grass on the pitch

Towards the afternoon session, the grass on the centre wicket was shaved. The wicket now sported a slightly dry look with some grass present only to bind the pitch. Steve Smith, the Australian captain and Darren Lehmann, the coach, had a keen look at the square.

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However, heading into the match on Saturday, India will continue to sweat over Kohli’s fitness and looking at the way how he went about the session, the doubts have only increased on his participation.

First Published: Mar 24, 2017 15:49 IST