For a change, Kohli doesn’t make change

For a change, Kohli doesn’t make change

For the first time since he became captain, Virat Kohli has fielded the same XI in two consecutive Tests. REUTERS

Every time Virat Kohli steps out for the toss in Test cricket, one always waited with bated breath — not to see whether he calls the coin right but to hear the skipper saying he’s finally playing an unchanged side.

For reasons best known only to him, Kohli has never fielded the same side for two consecutive games. But in his 39th Test in charge — the fourth of the series against England here at Aegeas Bowl — Kohli put an end to that long run by playing the same XI that he had picked for the previous one in Nottingham.

Kohli’s decision to constantly tinker with his playing personnel, throwing the old adage ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ out of the window, has often mystified many.

In the series against South Africa at the start of the year, he dropped Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the second Test despite the pacer doing well in the previous game. In the second Test of the ongoing series against England, Kohli chose to axe Umesh Yadav and picked chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav when conditions were completely in favour of seam and swing.

Kohli was even asked by an English journalist on the eve of this game on why he loves to play a different combination every time. It elicited a laughter from all, including Kohli himself.

“I was just speaking to Michael (Atherton) on my way and he asked me the same question. I said it has not always been the case of changes. There have been injuries as well, which have not been taken into consideration. It has been a mix of both.”

Just before this game the fear was whether spinner R Ashwin would be ruled out due to injury. But when he was declared fit, Kohli, for a change, didn’t make any change.