There have been spells of showers here in Kandy with India managing just one full practice session before the start of the third and final Test. India were scheduled for an afternoon practice session, but due to specks of rains early in the morning, the team decided to call off their stint at the nets.
India captain Virat Kohli though was not too worried that the team didn’t get to practice on the eve of a Test. Instead, he saw it as a welcome rest for his team that had put in all the hard yards in the Test series so far. “You can say that we are certainly better placed to be able to afford a couple of days off. Yesterday we took an off voluntarily and today it just happened due to rain but the day before that we had a good practice,” Virat said. “Also, what you need to understand in places like Sri Lanka is that it is very hot and humid. People sometimes end up doing too much at practice and then maybe you don’t recover for a game. It might just be a good thing for those who needed more rest, especially the bowlers who have massive workload during Test matches.
Though having sealed the series 2-0, Virat also hinted at not wanting to tinker with the playing eleven come the third Test. “We have to understand that to play consistent cricket you need to make sure that people are playing on a regular basis. Those who are performing and those who are doing well should continue in more games than not and to be a consistent side I think we need to have continuity as well. We want to play the same kind of cricket that we have and hopefully, retain the team that played the last game as much as we can. We are certainly not thinking of too many changes at all, especially in this format because you don’t want to start taking things for granted and lose that momentum. We are not thinking of drastic changes at this stage.”
Virat though seemed positive about the inclusion of Kuldeep Yadav in the playing eleven, especially with Ravindra Jadeja set to miss the Test. Kuldeep has been itching to be a part of the eleven ever since his inclusion in the side for the series and has been religiously making his way to the ground for every practice session. Yadav was seen in an intense bowling session on the day the team got a full stint at the nets. Keeping a close watch was head coach Ravi Shastri who later gave him a few words of advice. Virat too was all praise for the young Chinaman.
“A guy like Kuldeep, when you hand him the ball he is willing to bowl in any situation, willing to bowl with attacking fields, willing to throw the ball up towards the batsmen and he believes in his own ability and believes in deceiving the batsmen with the skill that he has. I think that is his biggest quality. He has proven himself in Dharamsala which was not such a spin friendly wicket. It was quite flat in the first 2-3 days of the Test match. He turned the game around for us. He has the ability, which is very rare to find. A Chinaman bowler is an x-factor in a team. I would say his confidence is his USP. He has a great chance of playing tomorrow and I wish him all the best.”