Nottingham : India skipper Virat Kohli on Friday said his players don’t feel threatened because of his chop-and-change policy and called it “quite a bizarre thought to have”, taking a dig at those questioning the trend. Kohli has made 37 changes in 37 Tests as captain and that trend looks set to continue when India meet England in a must-win third Test here on Saturday.
“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. 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,” Kohli said.
World number one India trail the five-match series 0-2. “We need to focus on this Test and not think about whether someone’s career is on the line. It’s quite a bizarre thought to have,” Kohli told reporters at the pre-match press conference.
“That’s basically your thinking. I’m definitely not thinking like that so I won’t speak to the guys assuring their careers are not on the line. Like I said, that’s quite a bizarre thought to have,” he added, when further asked if he had provided any security to his teammates as captain.
Kohli said he has sent out a message to his teammates asking them to focus solely on the team’s requirements. “You know when your back is against the wall is the time for you not to think anything else. From another point of you, it’s a good situation to be in because you have no room for thinking about anything else apart from what the team requires at that particular moment from you throughout the Test.”
Kohli stressed on thinking from a team point of view, in terms of batting and carrying themselves on the field, in a bid to overturn the 2-0 deficit. “It’s all about you feeling positive first and that’s the conversation we’ve had for the last few days. It is up to the individuals to stand up, and say I’m going to go out there and make a difference.”
Talking about what the batsmen need to do in conditions suitable to the bowlers, he said, “When you play here in conditions, you have to accept that even if you are batting on 100, you are not set. You can get a good ball at any time.”
The skipper declared himself fit for this Test after recovering from his back issues suffered at Lord’s. “I am feeling absolutely fine. It’s been an issue that’s coming on and off again. I got it in 2011 first time and it happens with the workload. Back is such a thing you don’t know when it’s going to go off.”
Additionally, Rishabh Pant looks set to make his Test debut, as he was busy batting and practicing behind the wickets to pacers. The skipper didn’t confirm these changes, but at the same time said that the thought of playing an extra batsman will only be considered if the conditions are loaded in favour of bowlers, like at Lord’s.
“We need to focus on this Test and not think about whether someone’s career is on the line. It’s quite a bizarre thought to have”