Team India captain Virat Kohli has indicated that the weather change in Mumbai is going to play a key role in India’s bowling combination for the second Test against New Zealand. India might revise their three-spin strategy for the Wankhede Test if persistent rainfall continues in Mumbai.
India might include Mohammed Siraj in the playing XI in place of a spinner as the overcast conditions would bring seam and swing bowlers into the equation due to underlying moisture content.
“There is a weather change and we have to keep that into account and pick the combination accordingly," Kohli said on the eve of the match, hinting that the three-spinner strategy could be revised for this game.
Mumbai is witnessing heavy unseasonal rain which has caused a sharp drop in temperature.
“At the end of the day, you cannot assume weather conditions will remain like this over the five days.
“So, we need to see what bowling combination should be picked that can tackle in different conditions. If we reach a common understanding and if everyone agrees, we go in with that combination," Kohli said.
The captain didn’t give any definitive answer about Ajinkya Rahane’s place in the side but to a slightly tweaked question how one communicates with players who are dropped, he gave an elaborate reply.
“You have to obviously understand the situation of where the team is placed. You have to understand where individuals stand at certain stages during the course of a long season, so you have to obviously communicate well," Kohli said.
“You have to speak to the individuals and approach them in a way, which explain things to them properly and mostly it’s been combination based whenever we have done changes in the past.
“….. and we have explained to individuals and they have understood our mindset behind going in with a certain combination. So it is not a difficult thing to do when there is collective trust and belief in the group that we are working towards the same vision," he said but did not give a direct answer to the query.
Kohli confirmed that the team’s oldest player Wriddhiman Saha has recovered from his stiff-neck, which had prevented him from keeping during the better part of the Kanpur Test.
“As of now, Saha is fit. He has recovered from his neck spasm and is absolutely fine now," Kohli said but it remains to be seen whether he plays or team management trusts Srikar Bharat’s abilities.
Kohli further talked about the Wankhede pitch and said it will demand a lot of discipline.
“This is a pitch which demands a lot of discipline, but at the same time, the rewards of the discipline are also much higher in the percentage as compared to some of the other venues, where spin might be dominant and fast bowlers don’t come into play.
“But at the Wankhede, that has never been the case. All the fast bowlers, especially in red ball cricket, really enjoy playing on this pitch and even the batsmen love batting here. A great cricketing wicket," he said.
Kohli understands that at times even the best is not enough and Kanpur Test was one such game where he believes that Ajinkya Rahane and his men tried everything.
“I watched the game and I think we tried everything we could as a team," Kohli said when asked if he could have approached the game differently.
“Obviously, everyone has different way of approaching things, probably would have been able to answer that if I was in that situation, but I was not in that situation so, I know that the team tried everything that it could."
The 33-year-old said that due credit should go to Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel for surviving the last hour.
“Sometimes when you are not able to pull off a result, you also have to give credit to the opposition for them to bat out 10-12 overs in the end with the last wicket, was very good effort from them as well, so you have to be realistic about the scenario," he concluded.
(With PTI Inputs)