Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) [India]: Indian skipper Virat Kohli has called on the team to improve its fielding, saying the players need to take their half chances and be more focused in the field in order to make a difference in the second Test of the five-match series against England starting from tomorrow.
The Indian cricket fielding came under the scanner after England skipper Alastair Cook was dropped on zero off the third ball of the very first over of the series opener by Ajinkya Rahane at gully off Mohammed Shami during the opening Test at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Stadium in Rajkot. Kohli also dropped Cook in the next over.
To make it worse for India, Murali Vijay dropped a sitter at first slip off Umesh Yadav, reprieving the 19-year-old debutant Haseeb Hameed, who otherwise looked like a solid old-fashioned opener who didn’t mind the new fashion of cutting in the air when the ball was short.
“Catch the ball. That’s all I can say to sum it up. We have caught really well in the last 12 to 14 months. In Test cricket, if you don’t take the chances, then it is very difficult to pull the game back. I think that was the main difference at the Rajkot Test rather than skill or pitch or toss,” he said on the eve of the second Test.
“We need to catch well. We need to take our half chances and we need to be more focused in the field and that would make hell of a difference in the game. That’s something that we are really looking forward to correct in this game,” he added.
Talking about the pressure of playing to win a match and play to save a match, the aggressive Indian batsman said that it depends more on the situation and the Rajkot Test was a good learning lesson for the team.
“It depends on the situation. When we are playing to save the match, the pressure is more. When we are chasing to win the match at least you can play your shots but it is not same when you are playing to save the match. You have to be selective and you need to concentrate a lot,” he said.
When asked about the role of the toss, Kohli, who lost his first toss in Rajkot in Tests after seven wins, said winning the toss gives you a slight advantage but in Test cricket, it doesn’t matter much.
“Toss is something which is not under our control. Winning the toss does give you an advantage initially but that doesn’t mean you are on the back-foot. In Test cricket it is less important as the team that can create pressure can always comeback. Toss has some importance but it won’t decide the result of the match,” Kohli said.
Speaking about KL Rahul’s inclusion in the second Test squad, the 28-year-old Indian skipper also said, “We were pretty clear that KL Rahul will be our number one choice along with Murali Vijay. And when he is fit at any age, he comes back into the team and we are going to start with him. That was the whole idea behind it. We were waiting for him to recover as soon as possible.”
“In the meantime, Gautam Gambhir got his chances and he played very well in different situations. We want to play with the combination that has best balance. Pulling Rahul out of a first-class game within the rules and we didn’t had to think differently,” he said.
Kohli also talked about the pitch in Visakhapatnam, hoping that it wouldn’t be like the Rajkot one. “Vizag’s pitch assists the spinners a lot and there is also something in it for the pacers early on. We saw that in the last ODI against New Zealand last month and I hope it will behave in the same way. We’ll look to use the previous experience of playing here to our advantage,” he said. (ANI)