India's Test skipper Virat Kohli justifies his decision to push Sharma up the order for Sri Lanka series
Chennai: India Test captain Virat Kohli yesterday defended Rohit Sharma's string of poor scores in Test matches and said the Mumbaikar can make an impact batting at No 3.
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India Test skipper Virat Kohli addresses the media in Chennai ahead of team's departure to SL
"We figured that Rohit is an impact player. In one-day cricket, he bats up the order and we felt that two aspects are different when it comes to Test cricket. He was batting at six and that was the set up we had in one-day cricket. As a batsmen, you want to bat in one position in both Test and ODI games and plan that way. That was the whole idea to bring the best out of Rohit.
"We felt that if he gets going, he (Rohit) can take one session away from the opposition side. That could be the difference in us winning Test matches. He had done well in Australia when he batted at three. I think he needs to get more opportunity there. Once he settles down in that spot, he will be the catalyst that we need in the middle-order who can keep the scoring rate going."
He lavished praise on Rohit. "Rohit is so naturally gifted and once he is in, he has got massive scores for Mumbai. So we want to give him that game time and ample opportunities to get that big score and in quick time. He does not score slowly and that gives the side more chances to bowl those extra 20-odd overs," said Virat.
Rohit Sharma. Pic/AFP
Kohli expressed his confidence in Ravichandran Ashwin's batting abilities and said that there is no reason why the Tamil Nadu tweaker can't be the all-rounder that the Indian team is looking for in longer version.
Kohli also stressed that he would like to play five bowlers in order to give the team a chance to take 20 wickets and also that three spinners could be a reality during the series. "You need to play a stronger bowling side in order to win Test matches and it's more exciting and satisfying as well.
"Yes, that's a possibility (three spinners). The idea is to take 20 wickets. I strongly believe that you need to your best bowlers to play in order to give your team a chance to do that. The whole idea of playing five bowlers is that the top six have to take more responsibility," the skipper said.
Virat Kohli clarified his statement about team's poor performance after ODI series loss to Bangladesh was taken out of context. Kohli told official broadcasters before the third ODI that he was "not happy with the approach of the team" which his detractors claimed to be a veiled attack on limited overs captain MS Dhoni's captaincy.
Asked about questions of friction in the team and his opinion about team's approach, Kohli said, "I do not agree on that. I was not saying that I was not happy with that approach.
I was saying that I am not happy with the way we have executed plans because we have not been able to do what we wanted to do. When I said 'we', it includes me also."