Nottingham: The Indian cricket team are better prepared this time as compared to previous tours of England according to skipper Virat Kohli. He feels that the close to 45 days rest between the World Test Championship and the Test series has helped the team to get into shape. The players have also acclimatized to changing weather patterns in England according to Virat Kohli/
since the one-and-a-half month rest between the World Test Championship final in June and the five-Test series beginning Wednesday has provided time for acclimatisation to the changing weather patterns in England, said skipper Virat Kohli on Tuesday.
“We are definitely much better prepared than we have been in the past. The situation [the break] allowed us to acclimatise and get used to the weather, because it can change quite drastically and quite quickly in England. As compared to the last tour, we have better experience. The younger players that we have, they are coming here after performing for the second time,” said Kohli at a virtual media interaction Tuesday.
Both India and England will not be in full strength. Mayank Agarwal has been ruled out of the first Test due to concussion. He got hit on the head by a Mohammed Siraj short delivery during the nets Monday. England, on the other hand will miss star all-rounder Ben Stokes who has pulled out of the series due to mental health issues.
Kohli however, did not disclose the final XI going into the game. He said that the team management is weighing all options before deciding on the final XI.
Kohli also said that wants critics of Cheteshwar Pujara to leave the batsman alone, He said he strongly believes that it is up to individuals to figure out the ‘drawbacks’ in their game. Pujara is India’s second highest Test run-getter in the current team after skipper Kohli with 6,000 plus runs (6267) in 86 matches. However, he has often been accused of playing an ultra-defensive game which increases pressure on batsmen who follow.
Kohli was asked about Pujara baiters and he defended his No. 3 batsman. “It’s been going on for a while and I honestly feel a player of his calibre and experience should be left alone. It should be absolutely with the individual to figure out what are the drawbacks in his game,” Kohli said.
The captain said that players at this level are aware of their responsibilities. That is the reason why undue criticism doesn’t bother them, least of all Pujara.
“Similarly with me or any other player, we are very aware of the things we need to do for the benefit of the team. I can from outside say criticism is unnecessary. I know for a fact that Pujara doesn’t care and criticism is as relevant as you want it to be. People can say what they want to say on the outside and those are just words at the end of the day,” Kohli added.
Kohli did not divulge whether KL Rahul or Hanuma Vihari will open the innings. However, he did say that Shardul Thakur has potential to become an all-rounder across formats.
“Yes, he (Shardul) can definitely be created (into an all-rounder). He already is a multi dimensional cricketer. It’s all about him getting more and more confidence, someone like him brings a lot of balance to the Test team or for that matter any format of the game,” Kohli said.
“Hardik (Pandya) has done that so far in the past and he is getting back on track to bowling regularly. These kinds of cricketers help the team in massive way and Shardul is a huge prospect for us. Someone who will be very important not just this series but moving forward as well,” asserted the skipper.