Legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar believes India skipper Virat Kohli should play the crucial third Test of the ongoing five-match series against England at Trent Bridge even if he is 50 per cent fit. Also Read - India's Probable Squad For ICC World Test Championship Final vs New Zealand: Will Hardik Pandya, Prithvi Shaw, Prasidh Krishna Make Virat Kohli-Led Side?
Kohli batted with a lower back pain in the second innings of the second Test which India went on to lose by an innings and 159 runs on Day Four at Lord’s. India, who had lost the opening Test at Edgbaston by 31 runs, are currently trailing 0-2 in the series and would be staring at another overseas series defeat in red-ball cricket when they take the hosts in the Nottingham Test starting August 18. Also Read - Selectors to Take a Call on Hardik Pandya, Prithvi Shaw, Prasidh Krishna For WTC Final - Report
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“The morale of the team would be low if you are 0-2 down. If they play out of their skins, they can still win the next three Tests. It won’t be easy to beat England. But the good news is that Virat is confident of playing in the next Test,” Gavaskar told India Today.
“Virat Kohli has to assess his injury himself.. whether to take the risk or not…But if I were the captain, I would want Kohli to play even if he’s 50 per cent fit. He’s such a crucial element. He has to play unless he can’t bend or walk. At the end of the day, he has to decide how much pain can he bear. For me, Virat has to play,” he added.
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The 69-year-old further suggested Team India to go with an extra batsman at Trent Bridge so as to provide cushion for Kohli who is not 100 per cent fit.
“I don’t think there will be any more room to play two spinners except at the Oval. I think it makes sense to bring in Karun Nair as an extra batsman at No.6; particularly because, Virat is also not 100 per cent. Also when you have lost two Tests and are mentally down, someone who has not been part of a losing eleven may be in better space,” he said.
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“I would also want Rishabh Pant to come in place of Dinesh Karthik with the gloves to add some depth,” he added.