Batsmen need to take responsibility on bouncy track: Kohli
Kingston (Jamaica) : Indian skipper Virat Kohli has said that the batsmen will have to take more responsibility in the second Test against West Indies starting Saturday.
A green wicket is to be laid out for the match, after the visitors took a 1-0 lead in the four-Test series by winning in Antigua by an innings and 92 runs.
“We’re not focussing on the opposition too much but we are happy that the wicket is going to have some bounce and carry. There was decent enough bounce in Antigua for us to exploit whatever help was there. Jamaica is going to be even better. It’s a result-oriented ground and we’re quite excited about it. We’ve got good pace, the bowlers are bowling good areas,” Kohli said.
“We believe that our batsmen are good enough to tackle any pace and bounce that West Indies’ bowlers have. The plan is to go out there and play with the determination and focus that we showed in the first game. Obviously we need to be wary of the conditions a bit more because it is a ground that is result oriented,” Kohli said.
It’s obviously going to take more application than we showed at Antigua. It’s going to take more responsibility and more concentration by the batsmen to get the job done. R Ashwin came good at six, Wriddhiman Saha played well and Amit Mishra got runs too. That just deepens our batting line-up and gives us the same bowling options that are required to take 20 wickets,” he added.
There hasn’t been a draw at Sabina Park since 1998 with India winning by 63 runs on their last visit here in 2011. As such, the skipper ruled out too many changes to his playing eleven, except Murali Vijay, who has been ruled out owing to a thumb injury sustained on the first morning of the series.
KL Rahul is set to play his first Test in the Caribbean, although Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Stuart Binny might still not get a look-in.
“Rahul has been in a very good zone. He scored runs in the practice games, he scored in Zimbabwe and he had a great IPL season. I think that was the turnaround for confidence as far as he’s concerned. Last year, he had a good tour to Sri Lanka, got a hundred there, but again he didn’t play against South Africa,” Kohli said.
“It’s more a case of a guy waiting for an opportunity. He wants to play. He’s batting really well and wants to make it count. He wants to get big runs. I’m confident of his abilities. He’s pretty compact, he’s a solid opener and he’s a great fielder as well. He gives you that wicket-keeping option as well, in case something happens to Saha,” said Kohli.
“Obviously, when you take a big squad away from home, it’s always great to have the players that we have on the bench, knowing that if anything happens to anyone or if someone’s not being able to execute what he wants on the field, we still have options that are world-class,” he said.
On the bowling front, a green wicket gives West Indies bowlers more penetration, and thus a good chance against the strong Indian batting line-up.
The Caribbeans will be thinking about boosting their bowling attack and the inclusion of rookie pacer Alzarri Joseph comes as a welcome move.
19-year-old Joseph could be in line to make his Test debut as will be 25-year-old Miguel Cummins, who was ignored for the Antigua match.
Joseph made an impression in the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, helping the West Indies lift the crown with a 13-wicket haul in that tournament, while Cummins is known to work up good pace. Both the bowlers will play an ideal foil to Shannon Gabriel with the new ball.
If West Indies are tempted to play both the newcomers, it might weaken the batting, given that skipper Holder had stacked his playing eleven up to No.9 in the first Test.
That conservative ploy didn’t work out too well against the discipline of India’s five-pronged attack in Antigua.
Among the West Indies batsmen, Marlon Samuels will be in the spotlight as since the end of the first Test, rumour has been swirling about his future with some suggesting that the 35-year-old could be playing his last Test series.
All eyes in Kingston will be on Samuels as it remains to be seen whether he can follow up his half-century in the second innings in Antigua and make a bigger impact here on his home ground.
India: Virat Kohli (C), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohd. Shami, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma.
West Indies: Jason Holder (C), Kraigg Brathwaite, Rajendra Chandrika, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Leon Johnson, Shane Dowrich (wk), Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Shannon Gabriel, Miguel Cummins, Alzarri Joseph.
Match starts at: 8.30 pm IST.