Indian skipper Virat Kohli has left India's starting XI for the upcoming second Test at Vizag in suspense by saying that the decision over the selection will be taken later. After regular opener KL Rahul returned to the squad, Gautam Gambhir exclusion from the lineup appears to be confirmed.
Virat Kohli's decision to play five bowlers in the first Test against England in Rajkot came under scrutiny after India managed to draw the match after enduring a mini collapse chasing a target of 310 runs on the final day. The Indian captain expects to make some surprise inclusions for the second Test at Visakhapatnam starting on Thursday.
“I can’t really say anything about the team selection right now. We will have our team meeting in the evening and will make the final decisions then. But you can expect some surprise selections as well,” Kohli said, reported Crictracker.
When Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli was asked about who will partner Murali Vijay to open the innings in the second Test against England, the 28-year old said,
“We are not looking to change the lot in the second Test. Rahul has been our obvious choice for the opening slot over the last few months and that is the reason why we brought him back to the squad after his injury.”
The Delhi-batsman also added that Rahul has been a part of the actual team plan which hints that the Karnataka batsman might start in the second Test following head coach Anil Kumble's announcement on Tuesday.
“Rahul is our number one opener along with Murali Vijay. Gautam got his chance as Rahul was injured but now that Rahul is fit and ready, we will look to stick to our old game plan. We are looking at going into the game with the best possible eleven and Rahul is one of our key players. We pulled him out of the Ranji Trophy fixture as he was fit and hence there was no question of including him on the team,” Kohli said.
The Indian captain also said that the team is working hard to improve their fielding after the Indian fielders dropped multiple catches in the first Test.
“We need to take the chances that come in our way. The team can’t really afford to drop catches when playing against a side like England. We are working very hard to improve our fielding because we feel taking the half chances can be decisive in big matches,” he said.
Speaking about the pitch at Vizag which is believed to assist spinners from day 2, Kohli said, “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.”
The second Test match between India and England will start on Thursday, 17 November, 9:30 AM at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium.