Following the heart-breaking loss to New Zealand in the final of the World Test Championship, Indian skipper Virat Kohli talked about the ‘intent’ of the players in the press conference just after the final. Since then, several people have been speculating about the ramifications of Kohli’s message and whether it would affect the selection of some players during the series against England.
In his latest YouTube video, a fan asked former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra his thoughts on Kohli’s statement and whether it meant that players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahana will be restricted to the sidelines against England. Replying to him, Chopra said,
“What is intent? Colin de Grandhomme also shows intent, he comes and starts slogging, is that the right intent? Pant also showed the intent in the second innings but was that the right intent? Rohit Sharma was playing defensively but I thought it was positive intent. Rishabh Pant was playing with the aggressive intent but it was probably not the right intent from the Indian team’s perspective.”
He also went on to add that intent is something which can easily be misjudged and as a result, is massively overrated. A player surviving outstanding bowling by taking body blows shows as much intent as a player taking loose deliveries on.
“Intent is something which is grossly overrated at times. When Cheteshwar Pujara stood in Sydney, taking blows all over the body, Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari did that. If you go to Gabba, Pujara was getting hit by the ball repeatedly. That is also the right intent,” he added.
Furthermore, the former cricketer turned television presenter was confident that players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane can add a lot of value during the series against England. He also went on to add that both the players bring their own individual skillsets to the table which might be different from what a Pant or a Kohli adds to the side and that should be respected.
“I have got no doubt in my mind that the England series will go good for Rahane and Pujara but everyone has their own style of playing. We must respect that what you get from Pujara, you will not get from Pant and what you get from Rahane, you will not get from Kohli,” he explained.
Aakash Chopra also believes that Virat Kohli wasn’t necessarily pointing his fingers at someone in particular and his statement could as well have been applied to the entire team.
“Let’s wait and watch. I don’t think he is singling out people, that Pujara or Rahane played slowly. Maybe he is just talking about a different frame of mind which might have been there in the dressing room, which may not have been that positive. I don’t think he was talking about Pujara and Rahane,” he further said.