What’s the story?
India skipper Virat Kohli has said that barring Hardik Pandya, rest of the team was available for selection for the second Border-GavaskarTest against Australia, starting at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday.
The 28-year-old further refused to completely divulge full information about the playing XI for the game, stating that he and the team management had a few combinations in mind and they would accordingly go in with the team that suits the best.
“Hardik Pandya is not available for selection. He has a niggle in his shoulder. So he is not available. Rest of them are. I won't let out the combination right now. We are looking at two or three combinations and not at one set pattern and we will accordingly what fits,” Kohli said at the press conference.
When asked about what plans they had to stop Steve Smith from amassing yet another big score against the Indians, Kohli said the focus of his side was not on the right-hander solely and admitted that his team had to do the things that were under their control very well.
“Our focus is not only on him (Steve Smith). The whole team has to play well against Australia to win the Test. That is something that we have identified. We are not focussing on one player at all. As I said last time, if we don’t grab onto our chances, it does not matter how many runs someone ends up scoring. We did not execute what we had in our control,” he said.
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After succumbing to their 1st ever Test defeat since August 2015, in Pune last week, India now have the uphill task of coming-from-behind and winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against an Australian side, that would be brimming with confidence.
The hosts head into the Test with a couple of headaches that include KL Rahul’s oscillating form, Ajinkya Rahane’s woes against spin at the start of the innings and others and will hope for both players and the rest to stand up and deliver in this vital game.
The heart of the matter
Kohli further added that the losses were an opportunity to understand where they needed to improve as a side and added that the defeats helped them understand the areas whether needed to work on.
He also said regardless of whether India won or lost, the intensity in practice sessions remained the same and based on the result, you could not change the practice. He also said he was not under any excess pressure and was relaxed and happy and added there might be a few surprises as well in the playing XI on Saturday.
Ahead of the second Test, it will be interesting to see what Kohli and co. will do to not repeat the mistakes they made in the Pune Test. The catching and the batting in both innings came under the scanner in that game and how they bounce back in both those fronts would be something that every Indian fan will be keenly watching in the Bengaluru Test.
Not many Indian captains in the past have spoken in as forthright a manner as Kohli did earlier today. A player like Smith, who has had a prolific run against India is surely to be the man that the hosts would look to dismiss early, but for a captain to come out and admit that he was not the only on whom the team was focussing all their energies on is great to hear and is a sign that they are not taking the other players in this Australian unit lightly.