The first Test against England at Nottingham ended in a draw between the two sides. India were firmly in the position of advantage but couldn’t make it count as the weather ended up playing spoilsport on Day 5. The selection of a fourth pacer in Shardul Thakur ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin became the talking point of that match and Indian skipper Virat Kohli recently hinted that the side was likely to stick to that same approach in the second Test as well which begins at Lord’s from August 12.
Although Thakur, who had started the first Test because of his fast-bowling and batting ability, won’t be available for the second Test because of a myofascial strain on his left hamstring. In his absence, Kohli said that the team will not hamper with the bowling strategy of four specialist pacers and a spinner and that they are well covered in terms of batting. Jadeja, who was picked ahead of Ashwin for the first Test, contributed with runs and adds balance to the side.
“The good thing is that Jadeja has got runs in the first Test already. So he will go into the second game confident. That already makes our batting a bit deeper. Lower order contributed with the bat as well,” said Kohli to media on the eve of the second Test that begins on Thursday.
“Shardul brings in more batting ability [to the side]. But having said that, from the batting point of view we are well placed because Pujara, Jinks (Ajinkya Rahane) and myself… Rohit and KL played very well [in the first Test]. So we are comfortable with where we are placed as a batting unit and we don’t feel we might be a batsman short if Shardul doesn’t play,” added Kohli.
Kohli also reiterated the reasoning behind using four bowlers in England. Doing so implies that a continuous pressure is maintained on the opposition and the pacers are in a better position to make the most of the conditions there.
“Four fast bowlers mean that you can apply pressure through the day in every session. You basically take field thinking that the fourth guy comes in and does the job of being very consistent. We are definitely not going to underbowl anyone. In a four-bowler combination, you have to figure which bowler is most likely to give you breakthroughs and which ones are going to contain. According to that, you put them in priority,” added the 32-year-old.