Virat Kohli surprised by presence of grass on Rajkot pitch

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Virat Kohli surprised by presence of grass on Rajkot pitch

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SportsCafe Desk

11/14/2016

Indian skipper Virat Kohli has expressed his surprise over the presence of grass on the Rajkot pitch on the fifth day of the first Test against England. Kohli also praised the contributions from Ashwin and Jadeja for “applying themselves” and helping India attain a draw on Sunday.

India looked to be heading towards a defeat in the first Test against England when they were reeling at 132-6 with almost 20 overs left to be bowled on the day. But, composure from Ravindra Jadeja and captain Virat Kohli helped India see out the day hence earning a draw from a tough situation.

This raised questions over Kohli's decision to play five bowlers for the Test. But the 28-year old was quick to back his decision by saying, “I was quite surprised to see that much grass, to be honest. It should not have been the case.”

"Secondly, I thought Ashwin was batting really well, he scored a lot of runs for us this year, so also Saha. Those two are confident, plus it's Jadeja's home ground. So we backed him to get a few runs for us. That gave an opportunity to play Mishra, an extra spinner. So at least, we had all our bases covered.

Kohli further explained: "With five batsmen, we ended up getting close to 500, and even batted out the second innings as well. Again, it gives us belief as a batting unit. So, going ahead, we can still play an extra bowling option and keep putting pressure on the opposition. It was something you can look forward to it or feel that you don't have an extra batsman and go into a negative mindset. I think the guys applied themselves very well."” 

Despite previously emphasizing the need to play to attacking cricket, Kohli's men were forced to play for a draw at Rajkot. But, Kohli said that his team has been offered a chance to learn something new.

“We looked at it as an opportunity for us to know how to play in this situation. The best learning is in the game. You can practice all you want in the nets, but only way you know how to make runs is when you understand how they are done,” Kohli said.

"When you are put under pressure, if you bat out the innings, if you play a draw, then you understand as a team when you need to switch gears and trust your defense and slow the game down. Those things are very important to learn as a Test side if you have to be consistent over a period of time and not just a shot in the dark.”

While admitting that there might have been panic among the Indian ranks after the early middle-order collapse, the Delhi-batsman praised the contributions from Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja after the duo scored 32 runs each to save the Test match.

"We took the opportunity and that's why you saw Ashwin and Jadeja applying themselves really well. Otherwise, there would have been a lot more panic if you did not look forward to the situation. It is very important to want to be there," Kohli said.

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