It is important to back your top XI if you want to build confidence in your players said Virat Kohli
The world no. 1 test team captain Virat Kohli said that India is unlikely to make too many changes in its squad, particularly in their batting line-up. Playing with the same squad will give players more confidence, expressed by Indian think-tank while backing Kohli’s decision. The India captain has also said that youngsters who have performed will be groomed further as the team is going to host Aussies in a test series that begins on 23 February.
If India decides to play with five batsmen in match against Bangladesh then Karun Nair could miss out despite his triple-hundred in India’s previous Test. Kohli said that Nair has done well to stay in the squad but if it comes down to picking between the two players, the more experienced and established Ajinkya Rahane will get the call.
Kohli said that while certain conditions may dictate the selection of an extra pace bowler or spinner, the batting line-up is likely to be kept consistently similar.
“You need to back players for a long time for them to become match-winners and have long careers. I think bowlers can be switched according to conditions. You might want to play seamers or three spinners, some guys might have more pace or reverse swing, you can change those.
“I think from a batting point of view you need big runs in Test cricket, and to chop and change continuously doesn’t let them gain confidence. People who have been regular in the XI need to be given a chance. If form or that kind of thing happens you are subject to that change, otherwise it’s important to back your top XI. At the same time, you need to keep those youngsters within the squad and groom them. I think communication is a big thing on that front and we do that very well with the management, conveying to the players what they want.”
Kohli has also flashed some light on the options that India have if they have to undergo any replacement due to injury or any other reason. “Bench strength gives you options when people are injured. That’s where it comes. An injury should not deplete a team; that’s something that bench strength contributes from. We are lucky to have guys who are up and ready for Test cricket. Jayant (Yadav) walked in beautifully. In T20s and one-dayers you saw (Yuzvendra) Chahal and Kedar (Jadhav) stepping up. We do have a pool of players who are coming up nicely. Credit obviously goes to the selectors for identifying them, and to the players as well who practise their disciplines regularly, that’s how you come up into that pool.
“I think it’s a back-and-forth sort of thing where you identify players but they have to put in the effort, which they have. So we’ve been lucky. We have good bench strength going forward. God forbid if there is any injury, we have two-three guys to fill up positions,” he said.