IND vs ENG: ‘There are no regrets’, says Virat Kohli on Shahbaz Nadeem’s selection

India skipper Virat Kohli made a disappointing return to the pitch as his side conceded a heavy 227-run defeat in the opening clash against England in Chennai. Riding on Joe Root’s double-century, the visitors dominated the proceedings on all the five days and now have taken a 1-0 lead in the four-match encounter.

India skipper Kohli along with senior pacer Ishant Sharma returned to the squad. Washington Sundar, who made his Test debut against Australia at the Gabba, was also included in the playing XI but what came as a surprise for many was Shahbaz Nadeem’s selection over much-experienced Kuldeep Yadav. 

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Justifying the team’s decision to go ahead with Nadeem in place of Kuldeep, the Indian skipper said that the former’s selection added plenty of variety in India’s spin attack, and added that there were no regrets over his inclusion.  

“…When you are playing two off-spinners, Kuldeep more or less becomes a similar kind of spinner (bringing it into the right-handers). So, we needed variety. We were quite clear what combination we wanted to play, and there are no regrets whatsoever,” Kohli said during a virtual media-conference after the conclusion of the first Test. 

Kohli lauded both the seamers – Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma – and senior spinner R Ashwin but was clearly displeased with both Sundar and Nadeem’s effort. The Indian skipper felt the duo failed to produce economical spells, thus adding pressure on the hosts.

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“If you talk about fast bowlers and Ashwin, they bowled consistently in good areas. The three of them. But I think if Washy (Washington Sundar) and Shahbaz (Nadeem) would have bowled those economical spells, the pressure created would have been more. The situation would have been different. The opposition would have scored 80-90 runs less,” Kohli said. 

Kohli also expressed his dissatisfaction over the quality of balls being used in the Test. “It (wicket) was flat and slow. The quality of balls honestly wasn`t something that we were pleased to see because that has been the issue in the past as well. Just for the ball to get destroyed in 60 overs is not something that you experience as a Test side and it is not something any Test side could be prepared for. That was the reality of the first two days. But having said that, it is no excuse. England played better than us, they deserved it (to win),” the 32-year-old said. 

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Reflecting on the loss, Kohli admitted that the team was always under the scoreboard pressure after England’s mammoth first innings total of 578 and India’s underwhelming batting display gave the visitors the decisive advantage.   

“I think, Test probably shifted in their favour when we batted in the first innings. We were looking to bat better but I don’t think there was enough application shown by us as a batting unit,” Kohli said at the post-match press conference referring to India’s 337 all out first essay score. Even if someone got a hundred in either innings, still we were pretty much behind in the game. There’s not one way to play the game and we understand that quite well and our endeavour in the future games is going to be long partnerships,” said Kohli. 


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Sagar Biswas

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