Since he took charge as India Test captain in 2014, on the tour of Australia, Kohli has not maintained consistency, in choosing his teams. He kept changing his team combination in each and every Test match
Southampton: As India and England prepare to face off in the fourth Test in Southampton from Thursday, all eyes are on captain Virat Kohli to witness whether he breaks his own record or not.
The feat which we are referring to, is the skipper’s policy of changing the Indian playing XI in each of the 38 Tests he has led in.
After a brilliant comeback in the third Test at Trent Bridge, there is a remote chance that Kohli will alter his team combination for the Southampton contest.
India won the third Test by 203 runs but still trail 1-2 in the five-match rubber.
Also read: Can Kohli match Bradman's 81-year record?
Since he took charge as India Test captain in 2014, on the tour of Australia, Kohli has not maintained consistency, in choosing his teams. He kept changing his team combination in each and every Test match.
Results did not matter. Either you win or lose, Kohli makes changes to his team. He has done it 38 times. But despite the chopping and changing, he boasts of an impressive win percentage (57.89%).
As a captain, he has won 22 Tests, the second most in Indian Test history, behind Mahendra Singh Dhoni (27 wins).
Even in South Africa earlier this year, he dropped vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane to accommodate Rohit Sharma, who had scored a century and two fifties in the home series against Sri Lanka.
India lost the opening two Tests in Cape Town and Centurion. Rohit failed and Kohli was forced to drop him and bring back Rahane.
It is not only the batsmen who go through the constant changing process, bowlers too are not spared by the captain.
In the current Test series, Kohli made a blunder when he opted to go in with two spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav for the second match at Lord’s. In conditions favourable for swing bowling, India erred by picking left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep. He flopped and he was dropped for the next Test. Later, he was axed from the squad too by the selectors.
Sources close to the team said that some had made suggestions to pick Rishabh Pant for Lord’s Test.
After the win in Nottingham, it will be hard for Kohli to alter his playing XI. He might go against his policy and may take the field with the same winning combination for Southampton.
One concern which the skipper and the team management had, was Ashwin’s fitness. However, he bowled and batted in the nets, indicating that he will play.
Looking at the pitch and the conditions, they are again likely to suit fast bowlers. The 22-yard strip looks green but the grass is set to be shaved off.
Overall, it is advantage pacemen at The Ageas Bowl.
Last Updated 3:46 PM IST