India skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday (August 11) said wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant will always take his chances when he feels he can change the complexion of the game with his intent and skill. The first Test between India and England ended in a draw after rain played spoilsport on the final day of the Test. The visitors looked set for victory, needing 157 runs to win on the final day, with nine wickets in hand, but the weather gods had something else in mind.
Pant had played a quickfire cameo in the first innings, but he was not able to march ahead to a bigger score. “That is basically how he plays. He has the capability to carry on and play a long innings in that manner. It necessarily does not have to be a very defensive role, when there is demand of the situation, he is intelligent enough to understand. If we are looking to save a game, you would not see him play those kind of shots. Wherever there is a 50-50 situation and he can change the game, he will take the chance,” said Kohli, during a virtual press conference.
“That’s how he plays and that is who he is. We want him to be that way. From Rishabh, we expect that he plays the innings that changes the momentum of the game and take that balance towards us. He is going to play this way,” he added.
When asked about Ajinkya Rahane’s form heading into the second Test, Kohli said: “I do not think that is an area of concern. Our basic focus is not to think about where are people individually at the moment, collectively how much strength they bring into the team is our focus. As a batting unit, we are looking to perform in difficult conditions so that we are in winning positions and someone is going to put their hand up every game.
“Last match, KL Rahul, (Ravindra) Jadeja, (Jasprit) Bumrah, Rishabh with the cameo, they were outstanding. Rohit gave us a solid start as well so look people are going to contribute every now and then. You need to understand as a side, what is the best batting outfit you can present on the park,” he added.
Shardul Thakur is not available for the second Test, beginning Thursday. Skipper Kohli said that the side would not be concerned a lot as there are enough options to choose from.
“The good thing is that Jadeja has got runs in the first game already, so he will go into the second game confident. That already makes our batting a bit deeper, the lower-order contributed with the bat as well. Shardul brings in more batting ability but having said that, from the batsmen`s point of view, we are well placed. Pujara, Rahane and I did not score too many, every game is an opportunity for other batsmen to step up as well,” said Kohli.
“Rohit and KL played really well, we are comfortable with how we are placed. We do not feel that we are batsmen short if Shardul does not play. For us, it is about finding that right balance, if Shardul is not available, we will try to take 20 wickets first and we feel comfortable with how the first Test went,” he added.
(with ANI inputs)