London: Ahead of the second Test match in the five-match series against England, Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday hinted towards changes in the team’s lineup in an attempt to plug the pretty gaping holes that were revealed during the Edgbaston Test.
Having lost the closely-contested first Test by a margin of 31 runs, Kohli indicated that his team could field two spinners to capitalise on the pitch when it is worn out while speaking at a press conference ahead of the second Test.
“When the wicket wears off, the spinners can come into play as well. So yeah, (it is) tempting though to field two spinners, but again we have to take a call on that. Depending on the team balance but yeah, I think it’s definitely in contention,” he added.
He also urged his batsmen to maintain composure, instead of resorting to aggression.
“How we react to a situation when a wicket goes down is more mental than technical. It’s about how you go about facing the first 20, 25, 30 balls. More often than not, that plan can’t be aggression, it’s about composure,” Kohli said.
Although the skipper did not indicate towards anyone, the former’s ‘composure’ remarks may be his way of subtly reminding Shikhar Dhawan and K. L. Rahul, who were both dismissed at Edgbaston while recurrently attempting aggressive shots, of changing their stance at Lord’s to give India a better chance of leveling the series.
Commenting on the pitch conditions, the 29-year-old said, “The pitch looks very hard, dry and it’s been hot in London for the last couple of months. It’s a good grass cover on it and that’s required basically to keep the wicket together, otherwise, it’s going to be very difficult for it to hold itself.”
Another speculated change India will have to ponder upon before the toss on Thursday is the opening order in the current English conditions.
Meanwhile, England captain Joe Root announced the dropping of left-handed Dawid Malan from the side, with 20-year-old Ollie Pope selected as the replacement at number four.
“Yeah, Ollie would come in and bat at (number) four. He’s obviously batted at (number) six for Surrey this season but having seen him play a little bit and you know the way his game is set up, I think it’s very much transferable to bat at number four in test cricket. I know that might be seen as quite a big jump, he’s obviously an exciting new talent and with the guys around him, I think he fits nicely into that position in our team,” Root said.
Commenting on the injury concerns surrounding Chris Woakes, who is in contention to be in the playing XI along with Moeen Ali, Root said, “No, no concerns. He wouldn’t be in the squad if it was going to be a big concern. You know, he’s obviously got a fantastic record in England, got a lot of wickets at this ground not too long ago against Pakistan here and you know, he’s done some fantastic things so he looks sharp. He looks fit in practice and you know ready to go.”
India will face England on Thursday at the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground. (ANI)