Antigua Test: India likely to play four bowlers, Rohit or Vihari may sit out

Tags: India tour of West Indies 2019, West Indies, India, Rohit Gurunath Sharma, Gade Hanuma Vihari

Published on: Aug 22, 2019

The team combination is the big factor of discussion ahead of India's first Test against West Indies at Antigua. While Virat Kohli hinted that they will most probably go with four bowlers, he did admit that the selection could be flexible, depending on the conditions.

"It's more or less a choice between three quicks and a spinner, or two quicks and two spinners. Last time England played here, there was quite a bit of variable bounce so all those factors come into play. We're very flexible and open at the moment about the combination, said Kohli in a Cricket Next report.

If India do go in with four bowlers, one among Rohit Sharma and Hanuma Vihari is likely to sit out. While Rohit has been in excellent form of late, Vihari also offers an additional bowling back-up, so it would be interesting to see what option the team goes in with.

"It depends on the combination we want to go with. Vihari has done really well, since he came in he has gone through two difficult tours. Rohit has also done well in Melbourne. It all depends on what combinations we want to go with. Vihari also gives a few overs, he's a solid player. Rohit's quality we all know, we've been seeing it for years," Kohli went on to explain.

With Shikhar Dhawan no longer in contention for Test matches, India are going in with only two specialist openers. Of them Mayank Agarwal is raw, even though he did well on debut in Australia while KL Rahul's inconsistency is a worrying factor. However, Kohli said of the situation that the seniors in the team must be ready to take up the extra responsibility.

"We're senior players and we want to take the bulk of the load, that's why we are in those positions as senior batsmen, along with Jinks. The three of us (Pujara) have been playing for a while. We want to control that middle order and take load off the other players. The opening combination, we've picked only two openers in the squad. The idea is to give them four innings, let them express themselves and come into their own. Mayank has done really well, KL has performed in the past," explained Kohli of his decision in the Cricket Next report.

The Indian captain added that they learnt some crucial lessons the hard way in Australia where they bounced back from a tough loss at Perth to clinch the series.

"We need to continue the good work we did in Australia. From England we learned damage control was very important, we can't lose six wickets in a session. That way you have no comeback possible in a Test match when you're playing quality sides. Every team knows how to take wickets and capitalise sessions. We'll have to be precise, if we lose a couple of wickets we have to be professional and disciplined," Kohli went on to explain.

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