SA v IND 2018: Virat Kohli takes a dig at critics over Ajinkya Rahane’s place in the team

Kohli believes the Indian batting unit have come out more matured after the 72-run defeat in Cape Town.

Ajinkya Rahane was dropped from the team in the first Test at Cape Town | AFP

Ahead of the second Test at SuperSport Park Centurion, India skipper Virat Kohli has taken a jibe at critics questioning Ajinkya Rahane's omission from the playing XI in the opening Test against South Africa, stating that prior to the defeat in Cape Town everyone wanted his deputy to be out of the team owing to his series of low scores.

"It's funny how things change in a matter of weeks, or just about five days. Before the first Test no-one thought that he should be in the eleven and now suddenly people are looking at the other option," Kohli quoted while addressing he media on the eve of the second Test.

Virat’s remarks came as a surprise to many since there aren’t a lot of people who wanted the Indian Test vice-captain out of the playing XI. In fact, considering Rahane’s remarkable prowess in overseas conditions there were questions being raised on Rohit’s inclusion in the team.

"For us as a team, it's all about finding the right balance. If players fit in the kind of balance we want to go in with as a side, then they will fit in. We certainly don't go on opinions that are created outside, and talk of the town and all those sort of things," added the Indian captain.

"He (Rahane) is a quality player. He has done well in South Africa, in all conditions actually away from home. He is probably been our most consistent and solid player away from home," he further explained.

Kohli also made it clear that Rohit Sharma was preferred because of his recent performances across all three formats.

"I explained the reasons why Rohit Sharma started ahead of him. I am not saying that Ajinkya cannot or will not start in this game. Possibilities are all open at the moment and we shall decide after practice."

While the skipper hinted about different team composition in the second Test, he didn’t actually reveal the changes.

"As far as the opening combination goes, we will decide today at the end of practice what is it that we are going to go within this game. We might do something different also but there is definitely no need to panic," Virat remarked.

Talking about the pitch, the 29-year-old India skipper said: "It looks likely a really lively pitch. It is exactly what we expected it to be and we actually wanted it to be that way so that both teams are into the contest provided they play some good cricket. This pitch will again test us to play our best cricket and that is something that we are looking forward to do."

Kohli also urged his batsmen to maintain their composure and not get surprised by the bounce.

"We must not get surprised by the bounce here. We have to maintain composure when you get sudden change of bounce, which you experience in South Africa. Here the bounce can be steep from length also. You need to mentally tune yourself to these things and accept that it is going to be a major part of batting in South Africa."

Despite the mistakes being committed by the Indian batters in the first two innings of the Newlands Test, Kohli reckons that the visiting batsmen are in much better shape for this game.

"I feel that definitely the batting order, through mistakes we committed in the first game and through the experience we gained in the first game, we are certainly in a much better shape to come at their bowling attack in this Test," the Indian captain concluded.

By Salman Anjum - 13 Jan, 2018

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