AUS v IND 2018-19: Virat Kohli defends inclusion of Umesh Yadav; praises excellent Mohammad Shami

Virat Kohli admitted playing four pacers weakened the tail.

Mohammad Shami picked career best 6/56 and was lauded by Virat | GettyIndian captain Virat Kohli was adamant that his decision to play four seamers on the Perth stadium pitch when in comparison, Australian spinner Nathan Lyon picked a fifer and ended up with 8 wickets and a Man of the Match trophy.

Australia defeated India by 146 runs to equalize the series and Indian team management came under fire for their team selection.

"We didn't have that control particularly in the first innings, not to the extent that we wanted. But in the second innings for sure, especially yesterday (day four) the first session, giving away only 56 odd runs without getting a wicket,” said Virat in the post-match press conference.

He, however, praised Mohammad Shami, who picked his career-best 6/56 in the second innings in Perth.

"I think it was outstanding bowling and obviously Mohammed Shami did what he did in the next session with the ball, which was again wonderful to see. I think they executed their plans to 95 percent of what we expected. I think you definitely can be happy with that,” Virat said.

The India skipper added, "In the past when we have played four quicks, we definitely haven't been as consistent as we were in this game. So, I think they were pretty accurate, pretty consistent and we were convinced about going in with four fast bowlers looking at the conditions."

Kohli admitted that playing four fast bowlers weakened the tail and didn't provide as much control over Australia's scoring rate in the first innings.Kohli admitted that playing four fast bowlers weakened the tail | Getty

Virat explained, "You obviously have two situations that you can think of. When you pick another fast bowler, obviously R Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja have more ability with the bat, we all know that. It's a very tricky decision to make - what kind of a bowling option you want to go with or you want to think that that guy can contribute with the bat as well. So eventually you come to one decision. We backed that decision and went ahead with it. Whether it comes off or not, that's a different thing but we were totally convinced in the team that that was our best combination to go with and the batsmen have to take responsibility.

"There are lots of variables that can happen during the course of a cricket match but before that, you need to have clarity as to what you want to do and as a side, we were totally clear that this was the combination we wanted to go with," he added.

On picking Umesh Yadav over Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Virat said, “Bhuvi hasn't played a lot of four-day cricket recently and Umesh took ten wickets in his last Test (against West Indies) and was in good bowling rhythm. So that was the reason behind picking Umesh over Bhuvi."

On the question of picking a spinner if Ashwin had been available, Virat said, “If you see, the rough didn't have much assistance. It was just the pace on the ball that Nathan Lyon bowled that he got the wickets that he got. We didn't want to think that we definitely wanted to consider a spinning option on this pitch, especially having a look at the pitch on day one and how we thought it would play on the first three days, and exactly played out that way. We thought a fast bowler is going to be more productive and more helpful for us as a team."

He didn't agree that the Indian batting line-up is completely reliant on him and added that even after his dismissal in the second innings, there was every chance of victory.

(With PTI inputs)


By Jatin Sharma - 18 Dec, 2018

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