India captain Virat Kohli was the first to walk into the ground amidst the scenic Himalayas in the background. It was serene, quiet and calm much like the captain’s body language on the morning of the eve of the final Test. Gloves on, with his bat, Virat walked to a corner of the ground and took a few throwdowns from batting coach Sanjay Bangar. A few hits to get a sense of how his shoulder was acting up and Virat was done. He did continue the same later in one of the corner of the nets, had a long discussion with the team physiothereapist and walked back into the dressing room.
Virat, later addressed the media and spoke about the situation of his injury. He assured, he will only feature in the final Test if he felt he was 100 per cent fit. “I will take the field only if I am hundred percent fit for the game. I don’t know the magnitude of the risk. All I know is that if I go through fitness test, I will take the field.”
Virat further suggested that it was an impact injury and not an injury owing to lack of fitness. He assured he would take the right call keeping in mind the team’s best interest. “It’s not an injury caused because of lack of fitness. It’s an impact injury and the full match scenario, bowling at 140kmph and playing against that bowling needs to be kept in mind. As a player, as a captain you want to push yourself to take the field, if you can to help team’s cause. But we need to wait a bit more before we can take that decision.”
In a possibility of Virat being ruled out, Ajinkya Rahane is bound to take up the captaincy and lead the side in the final Test. Virat was confident of his deputy and his teammates. “I'm sure the guys will take it as an opportunity to still take the team ahead. Everyone's really proud and motivated to play for the country and me playing or not playing shouldn't make so much of a difference to the other 10 guys because they have a responsibility to fulfil as well. I have not done anything special so far, but still the guys have fought it out and that shows why we are the number 1 team in the world. We have quality players who want to step up given these kinds of opportunities. If that scenario happens, I am sure everyone's looking at it as probably the game-changing game of their lives. Everyone is looking very optimistic for tomorrow's game regardless.”
Shifting focus to the final Test, Virat was confident of a tight contest between both sides. He expected the pitch to assist the batsman and bowlers equally. “I think it is a very good cricket wicket. It has always been very good for the batsmen to get in and get value for their shots. And the bowlers as well, there is good bounce for the spinners. There is obviously good pace off the wicket for the quicks as well.
“If you do any discipline well, you can reap rewards on this kind of wicket. And the ball travels in the air also. I think it’s an opportunity for bat and ball both to dominate in different situations in the game and it will be a well-contested game for sure. It will certainly test the players to the fullest and good cricket should be on display on this wicket.”