Virat Kohli has claimed that he is not bothered by the absence of the Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan for the second Test against Sri Lanka, which starts tomorrow in Nagpur. He has also stated praised Vijay Shankar as a 'balance cricketer', who comes in the absence of Bhuveneshwar.
The first Test match between India and Sri Lanka ended in a dramatic draw with the World no.1 side having just two more games to get a result in the three-match series. Indian will also be without Bhuvneshwar and Dhawan for the Nagpur Test, who both played a crucial role in the Kolkata Test. While Dhawan's 94 run-knock in the second innings gave India a brilliant start to post a tricky target of 231 runs, Bhuvneshwar's brilliant figures of 4/8 almost made sure India won the game late on the fifth day.
However, Kohli, ahead of the second match has assured that he isn't worried by the absence of the two players and has clarified that when the selection committee picked the squad they had kept this kind of situations in mind.
“Not difficult at all, because we pick a squad keeping in mind that all 15 are equipped with what is required to perform at the international level. These
The absence of regular players has opened the doors for newcomers like Shankar to get his maiden Test call-up. Earlier, chief selector MSK Prasad had stated that the 26-year-old has been on the management’s radar for quite some time. Though he went wicket-less and was dismissed for a duck in Tamil Nadu’s draw against Madhya Pradesh in the recently concluded Ranji-Trophy match, he had scored a century and picked up a four-wicket haul in the game against Mumbai.
“He has been very consistent. He has earned his spot. We wanted to look at another all-rounder keeping in mind that's a very important aspect of the team going forward. Obviously, Hardik (Pandya) is in our scheme of things as our first all-rounder But we need to, obviously, find out more people who have that capability and whom we can groom and make as back-ups for all-rounder's slot, which is very very crucial for us when we travel abroad. That is the whole idea of bringing him in and keeping him in the setup; making him familiar with what's going on here, making him understand what he needs to work on and look at his game as well," said Prasad.
Shankar has played 32 first-class matches in which he scored 1671 runs with an average of 49.14 and also claimed 27 wickets. Kohli praised the inclusion of the batsman in the team and hoped that in future he could be another all-rounder option.
"He is a pretty balanced cricketer, he is a very composed, he is handy with the ball, he can easily give you 10-12 overs a day and he is very solid with the bat. I just saw him at the nets. It's a big moment for him. He has earned it, as it said,” he stated," Prasad added.
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