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Virat Kohli Says Extra Batsman Can Come Into the Indian XI if Conditions Demand

Agencies | Updated: August 18, 2018, 11:45 AM IST

India could bolster their line-up with a sixth specialist batsman for the third test against England starting at Trent Bridge on Saturday, captain Virat Kohli said on Friday.

Kohli added his decision would hinge on the wicket but also called on his frontline batsmen to rise to the challenge and prevent a 3-0 defeat in the five-match series.

"Well it depends on what the surface is like. If there is going to be enough assistance for the bowlers then the extra batter might come into play," Kohli told a news conference at Nottingham.

"If the pitch is going to be even for batting and bowling then picking up 20 wickets will be the priority. The batsmen will have to take responsibility and get runs on the board.

"It is not about saving one discipline, it is about one discipline taking responsibility of their job and the other discipline taking responsibility of theirs. Both possibilities are there looking at how exciting or spicy the pitch is."

World number one India trail the five-match series 0-2. "We need to focus on this Test and not think about whether someone's career is on the line. It's quite bizarre thought to have," Kohli told reporters at the pre-match press conference.

"That's basically your thinking. I'm definitely not thinking like that so I won't speak to the guys assuring their careers are not on the line. Like I said, that's quite a bizarre thought to have," he added, when further asked if he had provided any security to his teammates as captain.

Kohli said he has sent out a message to his teammates asking them to focus solely on the team's requirements. "You know when your back is against the wall is the time for you not to think anything else. From another point of you, it's a good situation to be in because you have no room for thinking about anything else apart from what the team requires at that particular moment from you throughout the Test. The only conversation we've had is that the only option is to win this game and nothing else."

Kohli stressed on thinking from a team point of view, in terms of batting and carrying themselves on the field, in a bid to overturn the 2-0 deficit.

"It's all about you feeling positive first and that's the conversation we've had for the last few days. It is up to the individuals to stand up, and say I'm going to go out there and make a difference."

Talking about what the batsmen need to do in conditions that suit the bowlers, Kohli said, "When you play here in conditions, you have to accept that even if you are batting on 100, you are not set. You can get a good ball at any time and you have to accept that as a batsman when you go out to bat.

"If you are fearful of that ball coming then you will not be able to do your process properly. When that ball comes and incident happens, you have to accept it and move on. But it doesn't mean that you surrender beforehand because a good ball is going to come."

The skipper declared himself fit for this Test after recovering from his back issues suffered at Lord's. "I am feeling absolutely fine. It's been an issue that's coming on and off again. I got it in 2011 first time and it happens with the workload. Back is such a thing you don't know when it's going to go off. All you can do is strengthen the muscles around it. Bit of strengthening, ample rest, proper rehab it gets me back into shape."

Jasprit Bumrah has also recovered from a fractured hand and is primed for a comeback. Additionally, Rishabh Pant looks set to make his Test debut, as he was busy batting and practicing behind the wickets to pacers. The skipper didn't confirm these changes, but at the same time said that the thought of playing an extra batsman will only be considered if the conditions are loaded in favour of bowlers, like at Lord's.

"Very excited with Jasprit getting fit again. He's an attacking bowler who bowls good lines and lengths. He's very consistent in hitting the areas that are required at the Test level. He showed that in South Africa already and he's one guy who's really aggressive in mind.

"He wants to take the situation front on and basically make the batsmen feel uncomfortable. That's been his biggest strength and he relishes the challenge whenever given an opportunity.

"Guys who are bowling well are the ones who are going to start. That's something that everyone is aware of. I don't see any issues," he added, hinting that Umesh Yadav might miss out again.

First Published: August 18, 2018, 8:49 AM IST

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