Indian skipper Virat Kohli has thrown his weight behind the team's wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and has asserted that the management will give him the space to play his natural game. He also added that he's very pleased with the way Cheteshwar Pujara batted in the second innings in Leeds.
Coming into the five-match England Test series, Rishabh Pant was going through a purple patch. He had put up some exceptional performances against Australia and England earlier this year and played quite a few defining knocks for his side. However, he has failed to replicate his good run of form in England and has scored 87 runs in three Tests at 17.40 in the ongoing series. He had a poor outing in the Leeds Test too and was guilty of poking at deliveries in both the innings that brought about his downfall.
However, Indian skipper Virat Kohli has made it clear that the team will give him ample space to play his natural game and stated that there were similar talks around Cheteshwar Pujara too, which have now disappeared.
"Similar conversations were being initiated about (Cheteshwar) Pujara as well, which seemed to have disappeared after yesterday, so we want to give, as I said in the past, Rishabh all the space to play his game and understand situations and take responsibility like it is expected of everyone else in the batting order," Kohli stated in the virtual press conference.
He also added that India are not losing consistently and after one loss, one cannot start analyzing too much.
"Well again, as I said, with one loss I cannot assess that or I cannot start analysing that as a captain. Definitely the management is not going to start analysing that because we are not failing as a team. Consistently we are not losing, this is what I mean, when I say that, we definitely failed this game as a team and we take responsibility for that," Kohli responded when asked about Pant's lack of runs.
The 32-year-old also feels that the players can't be judged on numbers all the time, as that's not how teams are built. He also reckoned there are still two Tests remaining and the team will be able to assess things better after that.
"You can't judge people all the time on numbers, and whether they are succeeding or failing, that is not how you make a team.
"There is still time in this series. After two more Test matches, we can look back and reflect and analyse, okay these are the areas that were not quite right but at this moment, it's not the time," the skipper said.
India's No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara had a poor run in the inaugural edition of the WTC. He had also failed to play a big knock in the first two Tests of the ongoing series, but he batted brilliantly in the second innings at Headingley, top-scoring with 91 for the visitors. Kohli said that he's very pleased with the way Pujara batted in the third Test.
"We are very pleased with how Cheteshwar batted this innings, outside noise, we don't know what's going on and we don't care. So that is none of our business. We know that he was playing well and it was just a matter of time, when he starts to find his rhythm again," he quipped.
After the high of Lord's, it was a terrible game for India at Headingly. Their batting suffered collapses in both innings and the tourists ended up losing the game by an innings and 76 runs, thereby losing the 1-0 lead with the series now level at 1-1. The Indian skipper further added that the game was an 'aberration' as they had done quite well in the first two Tests.
"Look this game has been kind of an aberration in how we have gone in this series, first two games, we put ourselves in positions where we won one game and we had the opportunity to win the first one as well.
"So we analyse ourselves as a team in terms of what situations we are putting ourselves in, not with numbers, that all happens on the outside.
"So, whether we are helping the team to build partnerships and are we putting the team in good positions, is our only focus and there is no connection between the focuses on the outside and focuses within the group," he signed off.