Patel may replace Saha

Will Parthiv Patel come in for Wriddhiman Saha? That was the talk going around after Parthiv batted at length in the nets even as Saha relaxed during India's training session here on Thursday, on the eve of the second Test.

While Kohli kept all cards close to his chest insofar as opening combination is concerned, he did say that there might be something they may do it a bit differently this time. The only inference that can be drawn from this is perhaps getting Parthiv to combine with one of the regular openers M Vijay or KL Rahul who is expected to replace Shikhar Dhawan. Both Vijay and Rahul have the experience of batting down the order.

"As far as the opening combination goes, we will decide today at the end of practice what is it that we are going to go within this game," Kohli said when asked if he still intends to go with left-right opening pair. "We might do something different also but there is definitely no need to panic. As a batting line-up we have played well for a long time and played well away from home also in the recent couple of years. So we just need to adapt and apply ourselves better when we go out to bat," he offered.

The team management received a lot of flak for leaving out Ajinkya Rahane for the first Test but the skipper insisted that team's decisions will not be influenced by outside opinions.

"It's funny how things change in a matter of weeks, or just about five days," he said when asked about the chances of Rahane coming back. "Before the first Test no one thought he should be in the eleven and now suddenly people are looking at the other option. He's a quality player, he's done well in South Africa, in all conditions actually away from home. He's probably been our most consistent and solid player away from home. I'm not saying that Ajinkya cannot or will not start in this game. Possibilities are all open at the moment," he offered.

Kohli felt the key to success on South African pitches was one's preparedness for the bounce. "We have to maintain composure when you get sudden change of bounce which you experience in South Africa," he said. "There are other pitches around the world as well but here the bounce can be steep. It can be quite steep from length also. Those are things you mentally need to tune yourself to get over, mentally adjust to and accept that this is going to be a major part of batting in South Africa."

DH News Service

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