Despite suffering a chastening eight-wicket defeat in the World Test Championship (WTC) final, Virat Kohli firmly believes that India had their best XI on the field. He said on Wednesday that for India to have sported a different combination, which many demanded, they needed a fast-bowling all-rounder to maintain the team balance.
Against New Zealand's four-pronged seam attack and Colin de Grandhomme, India fielded three seamers and two spinning all-rounders in Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Although Jadeja contributed with the bat, he looked surplus to requirements as a bowler on a pitch where seamers had the upper hand all along.
Virat Kohli, however, said both spinners would have come into play had the weather allowed more days of cricket. He added that the team selection was a 'unanimous decision', considering the conditions at hand and the team's batting depth.
"Not really (if he would have considered a different balance to the team). You need to have a fast-bowling all-rounder in the side for that. The combination that we play, we have been successful with that over different conditions all over the world. So, we all came to a conclusion that that's the best XI we can take on the field. That gives us batting depth as well. So,we wanted to cover all bases. If we had more game time, the wicket would have worn out a bit more and then the spinners might have come into the game. In hindsight, you can think of these things but we made a unanimous decision that this is the best XI we can take into the park," Virat Kohli said in the post-match presentation.
The closest man to being India's fast-bowling all-rounder in Test cricket is Hardik Pandya, who is currently in Sri Lanka preparing for the limited-overs series. He hasn't been given the all-clear to bowl in Test matches yet and is unlikely to get that until after IPL 2021.
Although New Zealand had a similar batting lineup to India on paper, with an all-rounder at No. 7, their lower order gave them an edge because of Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee's prowess with the bat.
Speaking about Jamieson, his teammate at Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Player of the Match in the WTC final, Virat Kohli said that the former thoroughly deserves success because of his skills and attitude.
"Yeah, he's (Jamieson) a quality cricketer, and he's coming up nicely in international cricket. You know, really good areas with the ball, and he's a gutsy batsman as well, whenever he gets an opportunity. I have played a bit of cricket with him in RCB, and he's certainly got the same attitude when he plays there as he does for New Zealand. He's had a great game, and he deserves the Man of the Match award," added Kohli.
"We have the squad and the quality to do something special" - Virat Kohli on England Tests.
Although they lost the WTC final, Virat Kohli co's tour of England has just started. They will now play Joe Root's England in a cracking five-match Test series in August. Virat Kohli asserted that his team has what it takes to do 'something special' in the series, possibly implying an avenging of the 4-1 loss suffered in 2018.
"Yes we are, definitely. It's a long summer ahead, but we definitely have the squad and the quality to do something special, and we are really looking forward to the next series," concluded Virat Kohli.
The first Test between India and England will be played at Trent Bridge, Nottingham from August 4.