India's batting mainstay Virat Kohli today came out in support of his under-fire teammate Ishant Sharma, who has been pulverised by the Australian batsmen during the T20 International and first ODI of the ongoing series.
"I don't think you can drop a player on the basis of two poor matches. Ishant has had some good performances in England (Champions Trophy) and West Indies. Especially in England, he was an important bowler for us. You can't just write off somebody like that," Kohli defended the lanky speedster, who had figures of 0 for 52 in four overs in T20 International and 0 for 56 in seven overs in the first ODI.
Asked if Ishant should be dropped, Kohli told reporters at the pre-match press conference: "In T20s, everyone gets hit. Even Australian bowlers went for 200 plus score. They didn't change their bowlers in the next match. This is my opinion and rest is on the team management. I am not the captain or the coach to decide on selection matters."
Kohli did admit that the pace of the Australian bowlers will be something they need to watch out for rather than short-pitched stuff.
"Their pace is in our mind but short-pitch deliveries can be bowled by anyone. It's not a special trait for Australia, England or South Africa. Even Sri Lanka and Pakistan also use short-pitched stuff. I have always said that if you see the mode of dismissals, it's more about catch in slips, leg before or bowled. Very few batsmen get out to short deliveries. It's not a wicket-taking delivery but a tactic used by teams. But at international level, one should be ready to play any delivery that is thrown at him," Kohli opined.
The talented right-hander doesn't want to read too much into his team's 72-run defeat in the first one-dayer. "It was one such days when we didn't do well. I feel that we fielded pretty well but our bowling wasn't up to the mark. Also we lost wickets at crucial times. I got a start but couldn't convert into a big score which has always been my aim."