Team India’s Test captain Virat Kohli has refused to comment on India’s growing middle-order problems with veteran batters Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara’s spot in the playing XI under the scanner. Incidentally, Pujara and Rahane had another poor series against South Africa, where the visitors went down 1-2.
Pujara managed to score only 124 runs at an average of 20.67, while Rahane accumulated 136 runs at an average of 22.67. Addressing the press at the end of the match, Virat Kohli stated that taking a call on the squad and the players is the job of the selectors.
“Obviously, the batting has let us down in the last two games when we needed to step up. There is no running away from that. (On Pujara, Rahane) I cannot sit here and talk about what’s going to happen in the future. You’ll probably have to speak to the selectors about what they have in mind because this is not my job,” Kohli said.
Going by how Kohli spoke, it seems like picking or dropping Rahane and Pujara isn't in his hands anymore. Doesn't seem to have a lot of power left.
Sheer contrast to times when he could drop anyone and everyone at his whims and fancies.
— Alagappan Vijayakumar (@IndianMourinho) January 14, 2022
But Virat Kohli backed both the cricketers, who have been under the pump for quite some time now.
“As I said before and I will say again, we will continue to back Cheteshwar and Ajinkya because of the kind of players they are, what they have done in Test cricket for India over the years, playing crucial knocks. In the second Test as well, you saw that important partnership in the second innings, which got us to a total that we could fight for. What the selectors have in mind, I cannot comment on that sitting here,’ he added.
“Collectively, we lost too many wickets in one session” – Virat Kohli
The 33-year-old Virat Kohli further added that the entire batting unit has let the team down and has failed to apply themselves according to the situation.
“When we say batting line-up, we obviously add the lower-middle order also to it. It’s not just focusing on five guys. It’s till No. 7, potentially No. 8 as well, to make sure we get the runs required. Everyone knows that they haven’t quite stepped up and put in the performances that would have driven us into a more dominating position. Collectively, we lost too many wickets in one session,” Kohli added.