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Tempting thought to field two spinners - Virat Kohli

India had one specialist spinner for the first Test and the India captain is open to tweaking the combination for the Lord's Test

“Playing two spinners could be a very tempting thought. The pitch looked very hard, the surface looked very dry. It has been very hot in London for the last couple of months. There is good grass cover on it and that is required basically to keep the wicket together otherwise it is going to be very difficult to hold it together. The pitch is going to be an all-round wicket. If batsmen bat well, they can get runs; obviously dukes ball in overcast conditions, and when the wicket wears off, the spinners can come in. It is a tempting thought to field two spinners but we have to take a call on that depending on the team balance,” said Virat Kohli as he addressed the media on the eve of the 2nd Test against England at Lord’s.

India lost the first Test narrowly against England and when asked about whether the Indian batsmen failed to counter the English pace attack, Virat said, “We should not judge so fast and jump to conclusions. As a team, we stay patient. We don’t judge so fast. We don’t see any pattern (to the failures). As far as wickets falling in a heap are concerned, it is not about technique, it is more of a mental aspect. It depends on how you think about it after the dismissal.

“There must be a clear plan on how to face the first 20-30 balls, and more often than not, that plan does not involve aggression. There we need some composure. As a batting unit, we have discussed that.”

The skipper also emphasized on maintaining composure on the field and battling nerves while facing the opponent. “We need to show composure after a fall of a wicket. From outside the conditions seem bad because cricket is a marginal game, especially the Test format. Moreover, it is difficult to play in the English conditions. So, the margin of error is very less. There is nothing much to think or change,” he said.

Recalling the gripping first match, the skipper said that India were looking at ways to close out a game. “It's unfortunate that we have not been able to cross the line when we reached so close. We are thinking about how to cross the line. No matter who does it, it is all about crossing the line,” he said.

“It doesn't hurt when you score runs and don't win. It hurts only when you are not scoring runs and the team is not doing well. It hurts purely because we haven't won the game. As a batsman, I'm trying to score runs for the team and I'm trying my level best to do that for the team," he added.

When asked about his captaincy and communication with the team, he said, “I am doing as much as I can as captain and there is constant feedback from the management. People have their own ways of looking at the game and their own ideas when it comes to captaincy and so on, but I feel I have had really good communication with all the players. Eventually it is up to me what I do out there when I bat, because I am by myself when facing the ball.

He said he has regular chats with the boys. “Being in the right mindset is a very individual thing and as a captain you can only have meetings and chats which we do on a regular basis. People on the outside don’t know these things and playing for India and getting to captain the country is a big honour. I definitely leave no stone unturned when it comes to getting in there, talk to the guys wherever I can from the strategy point of view as well,” Kohli concluded

BCCI Staff

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Virat Kohli displaces Steve Smith as world's best

The Indian captain becomes the first Indian since Sachin Tendulkar in 2011 to attain the No. 1 spot in ICC's rankings for Test batsman
Virat Kohli (captain) of India celebrates his century during the third day of the second Sunfoil Test match between South Africa and India held at the Supersport park Cricket Ground in Centurion, South Africa on the 15th January 2018

Photo by: Ron Gaunt / BCCI / SPORTZPICS

Virat Kohli has achieved another personal milestone by becoming the seventh India batsman and first since Sachin Tendulkar in June 2011, to top the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen, which were released on Sunday morning following the conclusion of the Edgbaston Test.

Virat scored 149 and 51 in India’s 31-run defeat and has gone up by 31 points, which have helped him to end Steve Smith’s 32-month reign as the top-ranked batsman and reach the top of the summit for the first time in his 67-Test career.

Virat now leads Smith (who had held the top spot since December 2015) by five points, but will have to maintain the form in the remaining four Tests to finish the series as the world’s highest-ranked batsman.

Tendulkar had joined South Africa’s Jacques Kallis in number-one position in January 2011, but had dropped to second spot following the Jamaica Test in June 2011 after he had missed the three-Test series against the West Indies.

Apart from Virat and Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Gavaskar, Virender Sehwag and Dilip Vengsarkar are the other India batsmen to have achieved number-one rankings during their careers.

However, at 934 points, Virat has become India’s highest-ranked batsman, 14th overall, on the all-time tally of points. He had entered the Edgbaston Test on 903 points, 13 points behind Gavaskar, and is now ahead of the ICC Cricket Hall of Famer by 18 points.

If Virat can deliver another strong performance in the second Test at Lord’s, then he can break into the top-10 by leapfrogging Matthew Hayden, Kallis and AB de Villiers, whose highest points tally was 935 each. Donald Bradman (961) and Steve Smith (947) are the two batsmen sitting on top of this exclusive list.

Virat, who powered India to the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup title in 2008 and then won the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2017, is the 76th player to top the Test batting rankings. He is also the number-one ranked ODI batsman, but is ranked 12th in T20Is, 220 points behind number-one ranked Aaron Finch of Australia.

The batsmen to lose ground after the Edgbaston Test include Alistair Cook 17th (down by four places), Lokesh Rahul 19th (down by one place), Ajinkya Rahane 22nd (down by three places), Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dawan, who now share 25th position after slipping two and one spots, respectively, and Ben Stokes 33rd (down by five places).

In the bowlers’ table, Stuart Broad and Mohammed Shami are the two bowlers inside the top-20 who have headed in the opposite direction. Shami is in 19th spot after sliding two places.

India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has gained 14 points following his four for 62 and three for 59, which means he now trails South Africa’s fourth-ranked Vernon Philander by just one point, while Ishant Sharma has collected 19 points to move within 13 points of 25th-ranked team-mate Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

The Test player rankings will now be updated following the Lord’s Test, which begins on Thursday, 9 August.

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