Virat Kohli speaks about the possibility of playing Parthiv Patel as a specialist batsman
Sometimes, when opportunities just land on our lap, all you have to do is make them count. And that is precisely what Parthiv Patel did after being recalled to the Indian Test squad after 8 years as he not only scored the winning runs but also got his first Test fifty in over 12 years. The way in which the 31-year-old wicketkeeper approached the game was something that has impressed Indian Test captain Virat Kohli.
Following the wicketkeeper’s impressive return of 42 and unbeaten 67 to go along with four catches on his comeback Test, Kohli praised the 31-year-old at the post-match press conference, where he also spoke about his ongoing rivalry with England all-rounder Ben Stokes.
With the consistent injuries to the Indian openers (especially KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan) and the unremarkable return of Gautam Gambhir on his Test comeback, coupled with Parthiv’s impressive performances with the bat as a makeshift opener, it certainly begs the question as to whether he might remain in the side even if Wriddhiman Saha returns and takes over the gloves.
Kohli’s remarks that Parthiv “really stood out in this game for me as a batsman,” lend credence to the argument that the dimunitive wicketkeeper might remain in the squad as a back-up batsman for the Mumbai Test, which begins on December 8.
Speaking about the possibility of Parthiv Patel remaining as a back-up opener, the Indian Test skipper remained non-committal, merely admitting that it was a “good headche”.
“You never know, there are all kinds of possibilities,” he said. “The way he approached both innings, it was amazing to see. That's where experience from the first-class level comes into play. He's someone who's played [for India] at a very early age and he's come back and the intent he showed in both innings, I think, just deflated the opposition.”
Speaking about his approach to the game, Kohli said: “Credit to him to go out there and counter-attack and take on their seamers. I think he really stood out in this game for me as a batsman. As a keeper as well, he did well. You never know. We'll see what happens in the next few days. We'll take a call accordingly.”
Kohli on Ashwin’s availability
While the likes of KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha and Hardik Pandya have all been injured, India have had other injury scares as well. Chief among them being Ravichandran Ashwin, who seemed to have an issue with his lower abdomen, which he himself admitted after the game when he said he had “a little bit of lower abdominal strain”.
But Kohli was quick to assure fans that they had nothing to worry about the fitness of India’s premier spinner and the world’s No.1 Test all-rounder ahead of the final two Tests.
“All niggles have been addressed. [KL] Rahul, [Wriddhiman] Saha and Hardik [Pandya]," Kohli said. “All the others are fit and fine. Ashwin is fine, it is just an exaggeration while taking a run on that particular day. So all fit and fine.“