Cannot assure players of their berths, says Virat Kohli

Cannot assure players of their berths, says Virat Kohli

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NOTTINGHAM: Virat Kohli has been in charge of the Indian team for 37 Tests and he has not played the same XI in any of the games. It’s not going to be any different on Saturday when India take the field – there are at least two changes assured, if not three from the one that played at Lord’s.

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No one’s denying the fact that it has been a bit of a struggle for India in England, but this extreme chopping and changing tends to convey a sense of impatience in Kohli’s captaincy. And in addition to that, it causes instability in the team and makes players feel insecure. Kohli, though, is quite adamant that the “lack of security” idea is “a lot out of nothing” created by people who are outside.

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“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. When it’s your time, it’s your time,” Kohli said trying to smash the insecurity idea, which he thinks is “bizarre”, out of the park.

The captain made it clear that “no one can play on forever” and he is not going around giving assurances to his teammates about saving their careers. “I’m definitely not thinking like that. So I won’t speak to the guys assuring their careers are not on the line,” the captain said.

The two changes that Kohli will definitely ring in for this Test are Jasprit Bumrah in place of Kuldeep Yadav and Rishabh Pant for Dinesh Karthik. While the Pant question wasn’t asked because coach Ravi Shastri wants to keep it a secret, albeit open, till 11am on Saturday, Kohli explained the reason behind Bumrah’s possible return.

“He’s an attacking bowler who bowls good lines and lengths. He’s very consistent in hitting the areas that are required at the Test level and has a really aggressive mindset,” Kohli said.

That’s all fine, but it will remain a mystery why Kuldeep was played in the first place in the seaming conditions at Lord’s. And in addition to that, Umesh Yadav, too, is probably searching for answers as to why he is suddenly out of favour after taking 3-76 at Birmingham.

The skipper accepted that India have their backs to the wall. “There’s no room for us to think about anything else other than a win. It’s about intent.”

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