Kohli blasts critics of his selection policy

HARD TALK Indian skipper Virat Kohli revealed that the team has been discussing their priorities and need to now get them right. Reuters

India skipper Virat Kohli dismissed speculations that underperforming seniors could be packed off for the final two Tests, saying their only priority is to win games for the country.

“I don’t think anyone is thinking like that. These are just things that are created on the outside and people like to make a lot of nothing basically. For us the priority is to win games of cricket. We are not thinking whether someone’s career is on the line or what’s going to happen to their future,” said Kohli at the pre-match press conference in Trent Bridge on Friday.

“We are already asking the guys to think of something that’s beyond anyone’s control. When it’s your time, it’s your time. Everyone had had their time in the past. No one can play forever but that day is not today. We need to focus on this Test match and not think about whether someone’s career is on the line. It’s quite a bizarre thought to have.”

Kohli, while welcoming the return of pacer Jasprit Bumrah, said if they are confronted with a juicy track they may play an extra batsman. “It depends on what the surface is like. If it’s got enough and has lots of assistance for the bowlers, the extra batter might come into play. If not, if the pitch is going to be quite even for batting and bowling, then obviously picking up 20 wickets is going to be the priority. The batsmen will have to take responsibility and get the runs on the board. If you don’t pick 20 wickets, as I said in the past, you can score as many runs as you want — it’s not about saving one discipline but one discipline taking responsibility of their job and the other discipline taking responsibility of theirs. But both possibilities are there looking at how exciting or spicy the pitch is going to be.”

India are just one defeat away from a series loss but Kohli felt such dire situations brings the best out from a team. “You know when your back is against the wall is the time for you not to think anything else, you can’t afford to think of anything else. The only conversation we’ve had is that the only option is to win this game and nothing else. You need to show that in your body language, in your intent and the way you prepare for the game, the way you go out and the way you go about things. It’s all about you feeling positive first and that’s the conversation we’ve had for the last few days.”

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Kohli blasts critics of his selection policy

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