What is the story?
Indian cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar has said Virat Kohli should play in the last Test against Australia tomorrow even if he is 50 per cent fit as he will be able to motivate the team with his leadership skills and on-field aggression.
"If you look at the previous three Test matches Virat Kohli has not really contributed with the bat but as a leader, he has been there and as a leader, he has shepherded the team together. So the fact that he has not been contributing with the bat has been taken care of by the likes of KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane to some extent and Wriddhiman Saha down the order, Jadeja also. But it is as a leader that you want a person," Gavaskar was quoted by NDTV.
"I think what the team management has to look at is how important is this player to your team, in an all-around sense and not just as a batsman sense. So if his presence on the field is going to lift your team up, even if he is 50% fit, 60% or 70% fit, it is his presence in the team that is going to energize the team, then you got to play him. You got to convince him,” he added.
In case you did not know
Kohli has had a torrid time with the bat in the ongoing series failing to get past a score of 20 from his five innings so far. However, he has inspired the team time and again cheering them on even from the dressing room.
He has so far made the right bowling changes, gone with the right combination which has helped the hosts make a grand comeback into the series after losing the first Test quite convincingly.
The heart of the matter
While fielding in the third Test match at Ranchi Kohli injured his right shoulder. It kept him out of the game for some time and even though it looked quite serious, he came out to bat when his turn came.
However, his shoulder has been heavily strapped since the fall and today morning he skipped practice at Dharamshala. In the pre-match media conference when asked if he would be fit for tomorrow’s game, Kohli replied that he will only play if he was feeling 100 percent.
But Gavaskar believes even a 50 percent fit Kohli can damage the morale of the visitors.
It remains to be seen whether he does take the field tomorrow, and if so, will he be able to perform at his best? India have, however, drafted Shreyas Iyer into the squad as Kohli’s cover.
The whole idea of Kohli playing tomorrow rests with him and the team management but it is true even a 50 per cent fit Kohli can be quite a hot curry for the Aussies to digest.