The Indian team will be taking on the English side at Visakhapatnam tomorrow in what is expected to be an exciting contest, given how the teams competed in the first Test at Rajkot. The Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, spoke to the media during a pre-match press conference on Wednesday in Vizag ahead of the second Test.
Kohli was persistently asked about who the opening partner of Murali Vijay would be in the second Test, and the skipper made it pretty clear that the team's obvious choice was Lokesh Rahul. He said, " We are not looking to change a lot in the second Test. Rahul has been our obvious choice for the opening slot over the last few months and that is the reason why we brought him back to the squad after his injury."
He went on to say that Gautam Gambhir was used as an opener only because KL Rahul was injured and it’ll be difficult for him to make it to the team in the presence of Rahul. He said, “Rahul is our number one opener along with Murali Vijay. Gautam got his chance as Rahul was injured but now that Rahul is fit and ready, we will look to stick to our old game plan. We are looking at going into the game with the best possible eleven and Rahul is one of our key players. We pulled him out of the Ranji Trophy fixture as he was fit and hence there was no question of including him on the team.”
Kohli seemed to be pretty disappointed with his team's fielding efforts in the previous match, going on to state that the team's chief priority will be to improve their fielding and catching. "We need to take the chances that come in our way. The team can't really afford to drop catches when playing against a side like England. We are working very hard to improve our fielding because we feel taking the half chances can be decisive in big matches," he said.
He further went on to state that the team needed to realise that all the skills and talent won't make any difference unless they grab the opportunities that come their way. He added that he wasn't too worried about the toss and fielding was the only area he is concerned about.
Kohli also talked about the Vizag pitch, hoping that it wouldn’t turn out like the Rajkot one. "Vizag’s pitch assists the spinners a lot and there is also something in it for the pacers early on. We saw that in the last ODI against New Zealand last month and I hope it will behave in the same way. We’ll look to use the previous experience of playing here to our advantage," he said.
When asked about his tactics in the fourth innings of the last Test match, Kohli was quick to point out that he wasn't looking to do anything different. " My aim was not to think of something big. The ultimate challenge was to put my mind off and stay balance and see the team through. I was concentrating on playing one ball at a time and asked the other batsman to do the same," he said.
Although Kohli didn’t look to reveal anything about the team selection for the second Test, he admitted that there will be some surprise inclusions. "I can't really say anything about the team selection right now. We will have our team meeting in the evening and will make the final decisions then. But you can expect some surprise selections as well," he added.
Kohli stated that the team was looking forward to tomorrow's game and assured the fans that they will get to witness a better performance from the Indian team, as compared to the last Test.