Virat Kohli confirms wicket-keeper: The Indian captain opened up on the wicket-keeper’s spot and Ravindra Jadeja’s replacement.
India captain Virat Kohli pointed out all-rounder Axar Patel’s batting ability playing a crucial role in him replacing injured Ravindra Jadeja for the first two Test matches against England starting from tomorrow.
While Patel is a more like-for-like replacement for Jadeja, he was behind the likes of Shahbaz Nadeem in the pecking order especially in the Indian Test team. Nadeem, who made his Test debut against South Africa in 2019, hasn’t played another Test since then.
“The reason [to include Axar Patel] was basically to have someone very similar to [Ravindra] Jadeja’s skill sets. Axar brings in [those skill sets] to all three departments of the game. If you remember the last time when [Shahbaz] Nadeem played, a Jadeja was playing as well. That makes a difference,” Kohli told reporters in a virtual press conference from Chennai.
🇮🇳 v 🏴
🗓️ 1st Test, 5-9 February
🏟️ M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
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— ICC (@ICC) February 4, 2021
Virat Kohli confirms wicket-keeper for Chennai Test vs England
In the last two years or so, India have had different wicket-keeper batsmen while playing at home and abroad. Wriddhiman Saha’s better wicket-keeping especially against the Indian spinners at home made him pin down Pant for the solitary spot despite the latter doing way better with the bat in hand.
Having said that, Pant’s match-winning half-century against Australia in the historic Brisbane Test, an innings of a lifetime, has forced the team management to change their strategy with respect to him playing in home Tests.
Being asked about the same, Kohli announced that Pant will play his third Test at home at the MA Chidambaram Stadium tomorrow. The last time Pant played in a home Test was during his debut series against West Indies in 2018.
“Yes. Rishabh [Pant] will start. Rishabh will take the gloves tomorrow. He’s had impact performances in Australia recently he’s in a good space. We want him to build on this along with him improving other aspects of his game which will happen with more game time.
“That’s how we look at Rishabh. He’s come along very nicely. After the IPL , he wasn’t part of the white-ball formats in Australia but he kept working hard on his fitness, game; realized the importance of that work and got the results eventually. He will continue to be backed because he’s an impact player. With his hard work, he can definitely be a very very consistent match-winner for India,” Kohli said.