India captain Virat Kohli, not for the first time on this tour Down Under, was full of praise for his bowling unit as the visitors prepare to take on Australia on a green, bouncy Perth pitch in the second Test starting Friday.
After his side’s 31-run in Adelaide on a pitch that had a little something for everyone in the game, it looks like bowlers are set to enjoy the Perth track more as Australia look to fight back in the series. But saying that this pitch makes his team more excited than nervous, Kohli cut a confident figure on the day before the match because of how his bowling unit has been performing and said all the credit goes to them, not him as captain.
“I am just lucky that I am the captain when they are at their peak. I haven’t gone out scouting and picked out five people. They have been playing for a while and its just that they have come into their own at the time that I am captain,” the 30-year-old said on Thursday.
“So I am not going to sit here and take credit for unleashing someone because they have been working hard on their game and I am captain right now and I am really proud to have guys in the team that are at the peak of their powers. As I said, if you don’t take 20 wickets, you don’t win a Test match, regardless whether you score 600 or 700 runs. If you score 300 and you have guys who can pick you 20 wickets you are absolutely fine as a team.”
India’s bowling attack has come under praise from many quarters from the beginning of 2018. Even in defeat in South Africa, the bowling unit picked up 60 out of all possible 60 wickets. In England, except for Lord’s in the second Test, the bowling unit impressed. That impact is not lost on Kohli.
“I am happy and grateful that these guys are at their peak time right now and its helping Indian cricket. Because the way they have bowled in the last three tours, this is the third tour that is on, its amazing to see how hungry they are to take 20 wickets and they are not giving away so many easy runs anymore. That’s something they have surely worked really hard on their game and everyone is enjoying who is watching us play,” Kohli said.
One of the key members of this unit is Ishant Sharma, also the most experienced among the current lot. But he came under the scanner of sorts in Adelaide for two potentially costly no-balls. One to Aaron Finch early in the second innings and one against Nathan Lyon towards the end of a nervy finish. Kohli had mentioned in Adelaide that Ishant was “pissed off” when everyone else was celebrating. Speaking in Perth, Kohli backed his fellow Delhi cricketer and said there was no need to keep talking about the issue.
“As I mentioned after the end of the last game, he himself wanted to rectify it and so I don’t think it had to be spoken about it again and again. He is a responsible cricketer and has been around for so long and he understands what needs to be corrected as all of us do in the team. So I don’t think it needs to be repeated again. He knows the problem and he is keen to rectify it in this game,” Kohli said.