With Indian batsmen struggling against the England bowlers in the first two Tests of the five-match series, skipper Virat Kohli hinted that the visitors may employ an extra batsman in the crucial third Test which starts on Saturday.
India gave a good fight before losing the first Test by 31 runs in Birmingham. In the second Test, they were outplayed by an innings and 159 runs at Lord’s.
Kohli was the only Indian batsman who managed to trouble the English bowlers in the first Test. The Indians continued their poor form with the bat in the second Test as well when even Kohli proved to be a flop.
The poor results have evidently put the usually aggressive Kohli under pressure ahead of the third Test.
“Depends on what the surface is like. If there is going to be enough assistance for the bowlers then the extra batter might come into play, but if not, if the pitch is going to be quite even for batting and bowling then picking 20 wickets is going to be the priority,” Kohli told reporters on the eve of the Third Test.
Kohli also said his team is focussing on the third Test rather than thinking about the future owing to their poor show in the last two outings.
“I don’t think anyone is thinking like that. Those are things created on the outside. People like to make a lot (out) of nothing, basically. For us, the priority is just to win games of cricket,” the skipper observed.
“We are not thinking whether someone’s career is on the line or what is going to happen to their future. Everyone has had their time in the past; no one can play forever. We need to focus on this Test and not think about whether someone’s career is on the line,” Kohli added.
Backing his batsmen, Kohli also asked them to play responsibly to put runs on the board in order to make the job easier for the bowlers.
“The batsmen will still have to take responsibility and put runs on the board. If you don’t pick 20, as I have said in the past, you can score as many runs as you want,” he said.
Talking on fit-again Jasprit Bumrah, who missed the first two Tests due to a finger injury, the Delhi batsman said: “Very excited with Jasprit getting fit again. He is an attacking bowler. He bowls attacking lines and length.”
“He is very consistent in hitting the areas required at Test level. He has shown that in South Africa as well. He is one guy who is really aggressive in his mind,” Kohli added.