Former India captain Virat Kohli is back in action in the longest format of the game, since losing the rescheduled fifth Test against England in July this year. Kohli has played in 102 Tests so far and his average has slipped below 50 in the format for the first time this year. The ex-India skipper has 27 hundreds and he is coming into the first Test against Bangladesh in Chattogram, beginning on Wednesday (December 13) after a century in the third ODI game last week.
Ahead of the two-match Test series against Bangladesh, India’s stand-in Test captain KL Rahul feels that Kohli is someone who has always found ways to get runs and do the job of getting the runs for his team in red-ball cricket too. Since September, Kohli has been in blazing form in white-ball matches, notching up a T20I century against Afghanistan in Asia Cup and then playing some vintage knocks during the Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia.
On Saturday, he got his 44th ODI century against Bangladesh and with India now all set to play in Tests after nearly six months, all eyes will be on Kohli to carry his good form in white-ball matches to red-ball cricket. “We haven’t really played too much Test cricket for you to pass that statement. But he`s been in good form; he’s done really well for us in T20 cricket. Recently, he got that (ODI) hundred against Bangladesh here. Obviously, he will take some confidence into the Test matches as well. He’s been around for so long,” KL Rahul said in the pre-match Press Conference on Monday (December 12).
“He is such an experienced player; he knows what to do. His mindset and attitude have always remained the same. The passion he has for the game, the commitment he gives for his team, has been on show for everyone to see, so you can’t really question that. He`s a great player. He has always found ways to get runs, do the job for his team and I am sure he will do that again,” stand-in skipper Rahul added.
India will be without regular skipper Rohit Sharma for the first Test from December 14-18 at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium and Rahul hopes he is fit in time for the second Test at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium from December 22-26.
“Rohit Sharma is an important player for us. He is a very experienced player and captain of our team. With the captain being injured, he is someone that the team will really miss but fingers crossed, we hope he can recover quickly and come back for the second Test,” Rahul said.
With no Rohit, Rahul and Shubman Gill are going to be the likely opening pair for India in Chattogram. Rahul was in praise for the skillsets and attitude shown by Gill in his initial days and stressed on how important it is to back youngsters who are capable of doing well for the Indian team.
“Shubman has been a brilliant player and it is wonderful to see his transformation (in ODIs). In Tests, whenever he has got the opportunity, he has done the job for the team. He’s very young and exciting and has the temperament for the longest format. In every format, he is exciting and I am sure he will be excited about this opportunity to do the job for the team,” the India captain said.
(with IANS inputs)