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‘Virat Kohli batted for two days, didn’t need mask’ - India dismiss pollution talk

The Indian camp dismissed pollution concerns raised by Sri Lanka in the Ferozeshah Kotla Test on Sunday, citing Virat Kohli’s batting performance as an example of the playing conditions.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Dec 03, 2017 22:25 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India vs Sri lanka,Indian cricket team,Sri lankan cricket team
Indian skipper Virat Kohli during the 2nd day of the third Test match against Sri Lanka at Ferozeshah Kotla, in New Delhi. (PTI)

The Indian camp dismissed pollution concerns raised by Sri Lanka in the Ferozeshah Kotla Test on Sunday with bowling coach Bharat Arun blaming the visitors for breaking the rhythm of the India batsman. (IND v SL Day 2 report)

Skipper Virat Kohli was on a career-best 243, but was dismissed soon after play resumed following a 15-minute stoppage to enable Sri Lanka pace bowler Lahiru Gamage get attention as the fielders, many wearing face masks, huddled around in the haze. (IND v SL Day 2 highlights) (Full scorecard)

Kohli appeared livid as he fell soon after, having batted untroubled until then with a triple century there for the taking.

“Virat batted close to two days, he didn’t need a mask,” Arun countered while talking to reporters after the second day’s play. “We’re very well focused on what we need to achieve as a team. The conditions are the same for both, we are not too bothered.”

Nothing new

“Pollution is there everywhere in our country. I don’t think we are too worried. BCCI has scheduled these matches and our job is to go out and play and get the best out of our team. So, we focus more on that.”

Arun denied India’s abrupt declaration at 536/7 was to salvage the situation as Sri Lanka were struggling to field 11 fit players. “We were looking at a total of about 550, so it was pretty close to that.”

READ | How Virat Kohli’s discipline is an inspiration for Indian cricket team

So, as a former India pacer, did he feel sympathy for Sri Lanka’s new ball bowlers, Lahiru Gamage and Suranga Lakmal, who both were listless and helped to the dressing room.

“Why should we? We are focused more on what we have to do in the Test match. I don’t think we need to be thinking about what the opposition does. It is their lookout and their problem to keep their bowlers fit.”

Shastri’s advice

Arun revealed India coach, Ravi Shastri, went into the ground to tell the umpires to resume the game. “Ravi was pretty simple; ‘please get on with the game. You don’t need to stop, you take a decision and get on with the game.’

“The umpires and the match referee, they have a job on hand. It’s not up to the players to go and protest. They know what they are doing. When the play was unnecessarily being stopped, we just wanted to get on with it, because our focus is to do well and win this Test.

READ | Players vomited due to Delhi pollution: Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas

Did the Indian camp feel Sri Lanka were using pollution as a deliberate tactic to upset India’s rhythm as they were struggling? Both Kohli and R Ashwin got out soon after play resumed following the first stoppage.

“Well, they wanted to probably stress on the fact that the pollution… the focus was not, (it was) totally different. It could have broken the rhythm, yes, but again at that point we had to move on.”

First Published: Dec 03, 2017 22:10 IST