Virat Kohli explains reason behind ace spinner’s omission: The Indian captain eventually won the toss after losing three in a row.
During the first day of the third Test of the ongoing India’s tour of England in Leeds, India captain Virat Kohli has won the toss and chose to bat. Winning a toss after losing eight in a row at the highest level, Kohli was himself surprised by the outcome of the toss today.
“It’s a surprise I’ve won [the toss]. We’re batting first. Looks firm and without grass and runs on the board will set this up. We’re going in with the same XI. You can lay down markers and a culture, but it’s up to the boys to take it up and win from pressure situations. It’s all about handling pressure at the highest level,” Kohli told Sky Sports at the toss.
India, who haven’t played a Test match at Headingley since 2002, had played their last international match in the form of an ODI against Sri Lanka during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
It was on the back of a match-winning 189-run opening partnership between Lokesh Rahul and Rohit Sharma that India had registered a 7-wicket victory. Being asked about the impressive manner in which the Indian opening batsmen have batted in this series, Kohli hoped for Rahul and Sharma to continue in the same fashion.
“It’s the toughest place to bat for the openers and KL [Rahul] and Rohit [Sharma] have done a good job. Hopefully, they can continue,” Kohli added.
Virat Kohli explains why R Ashwin didn’t make it to Indian XI in Leeds
The development means that India will continue to leave out ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the third match in a row. With a comparatively lesser grass cover on this surface, there were talks of Ashwin getting a go over here but it isn’t the case.
“We thought about getting [Ravichandran] Ashwin in but the pressure of the extra seamer in these conditions is crucial. [Ravindra] Jadeja will bowl a lot more overs because the conditions are suited to him,” Kohli said.
I hope India release Ashwin to play county cricket.
— George Dobell (@GeorgeDobell1) August 25, 2021
In the three innings that Kohli has played in this series, he has scored 62 runs at a paltry average of 20.66. At this point in time, India pacer Jasprit Bumrah has the same number of runs at a better average. However, Kohli was unperturbed when asked about his personal batting form so far.
“About my batting, I’ll try to make an impact for the team with the bat. I believe in my process and sometimes it doesn’t really come off on the field, but I’m more concerned about how much of an impact I have on the team’s performance,” Kohli concluded.