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Virat Kohli confirms playing XI for the second Test against Sri Lanka

Utkarsh Bhatla

Virat Kohli

The Indian team has started the Kohli-Shastri era in the best possible way, blowing away Sri Lanka in the first test match and romping to a huge win.

KL Rahul being down with viral fever meant that Shikhar Dhawan slotted into the opener’s role along with Abhinav Mukund. And he didn’t disappoint one bit, scoring a match winning 190 to help India stay in control of the game all through.

KL Rahul getting back to full fitness was always going to pose the ‘problem of plenty’ for Virat Kohli, as Shikhar Dhawan capitalised on that one opportunity that was presented to him. And while Abhinav Mukund hasn’t done much wrong, Virat Kohli’s press conference almost confirmed that he would be the warming the benches in the 2nd test.

KL Rahul has been our established opener. I feel one of the openers (Dhawan or Mukund) will have to make way for him because what he (Rahul) has done in the past two years for us has been very solid. He deserves to come back and start fresh in Test cricket again,” Kohli said in the pre-match press conference.

We have a team meeting later on after practice and we’ll be able to clarify that then. But yes, according to me, KL (Rahul) will definitely come back into the eleven,” he added.

Rahul had amassed 393 runs in the series against Australia and looked in brilliant touch all through and thus has earned Virat Kohli’s confidence.

“It is very important to make Rahul feel at ease specifically because he played the practice game as well and he looked really solid. He has batted really well in the last couple of seasons for us. It is very important for us to make him feel that this is his spot.”

“And it won’t be changed because of unfortunate events that happen outside of the playing field or the injuries that you can’t control,” the Indian skipper said.

Kohli also insisted that Rahul is mentally tough and will be able to make a strong comeback after his recurring shoulder injury.

“That phase you have to come back, you need to get stronger. He has really stuck it out in that phase. It’s been hard for him, we all know that, because he was batting so well and then he was out because of this.”

“It is very important to make him feel secure and he deserves it because he has given us those big performances when the team has required the most. He is a guy that needs to be backed and we as a team, as management and me as captain all back him 100 per cent,” Kohli added.

When asked about who between Mukund and Dhawan will partner Rahul, Kohli sort of made it very clear that he would be going in with Dhawan, as he said that they wanted go in with the opener that has the potential to create maximum impact.

“It’s a pretty thin line. It is a very small margin but unfortunately that is how the sport goes sometimes and things happen in a team environment. In the dynamics of a team, the guy who sits out will understand the reasons behind it,” he said.

“Not to say that those people are not being backed but it’s whatever the best combination we as a team feel we should take on the field, we back that and we take that call. It is up to the individuals, who are involved in that decision to understand it is for the best interest of the team.

“Guys are professional enough to know that but I think in a scenario like this, you will always think of a guy, who has had more impact on setting up the game or winning the game for the team,” he concluded

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