PUNE: India captain Virat Kohli is happy that his team has “bought” into the philosophy of “selfless attitude” and “flexible thinking”. Therefore it has led to a transformed Mohammed Shami and an aware Kuldeep Yadav.
According to the skipper, Shami’s journey has been nothing short of fascinating. Shami has gone from an injury-prone talent to the most potent seam bowler on flat decks.
“Now, he (Shami) is taking responsibility. We don’t need to push Shami anymore. We don’t need to tell him ‘come on; you need to bowl this spell for us’. He wants the ball; he understands the situation when he’s given the ball,” Kohli said on the eve of the second Test here on Wednesday.
If Shami is at one end of the spectrum, there is young Chinaman Kuldeep on the other. He must be wondering where he has gone wrong. Especially after he picked five wickets in the last Test that he played (against Australia at Sydney).
The skipper said that even Kuldeep knows the reason why he is not in the Test eleven. “No one is self-centred, and everyone is thinking about what I can do for the team. It’s the same about Kuldeep. He understands that in India, Ashwin and Jadeja will be our first choices. The decision is because they give us so much more with the bat as well.”
The Indian team management has often changed their combinations in the recent past. Hence, skipper Kohli wants everyone to see the results and thus understands the reason.
“People are speaking about the system we have followed over the last two years. The only thing that matters to us is wanting to win as many games as we can, So far we have been able to do that,” said Kohli.
“We have the least losing percentage in the last three years, and there is a good reason for that. We are flexible. At the same time, it can’t be possible if the team doesn’t buy into it. The guys have bought into it,” said Kohli, who has lost only one Test (vs Australia at Pune in 2017) at home as the Indian captain.
Talking about Shami, the skipper once again spoke highly about Shami. He focused on Shami’s ability to get movement off the pitch that makes him deadly even on the most unsuitable surfaces for fast bowling. “I think on the pitches we play, I don’t see anyone with so much seam movement apart from him (Shami),” the skipper said. Shami’s ability to do it regularly makes him stand apart, especially when the situation looks hopeless.
“He is someone who can change the complexion of the match totally when you don’t see it coming. His skill is there for everyone to see. Especially in the second innings, the situations are difficult. That time he comes in and does the job every time. It’s great,” said Kohli.
Kohli confident about playing XI
Players accepting responsibilities at different stages of the game has “amazed” the captain. There is a forecast for a further downpour during the match. However, the skipper didn’t seem very interested in changing his team combination. “More or less, our team is settled, and I don’t think the pitch will play that big a factor. Because when the pitch is damp, it turns as well. It’s not that only seamers are predominantly effective, spinners will also be effective on all five days,” said Virat. With this, he effectively dismissed suggestions of playing the third seamer.