Virat Kohli wants the Indian openers to shine in West Indies Tests

Published: Aug 22, 2019, 11:42 IST | mid-day online correspondent |

The world's no.1 Test side will kickstart their campaign in the ambitious World Test Championship at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium today.

Virat Kohli relishes a joke during a Test match
Virat Kohli relishes a joke during a Test match

India captain Virat Kohli wants Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul to make it count versus the West Indies and shine in the four innings they will get in the two-Test series starting today.

The world's no.1 Test side will kickstart their campaign in the ambitious World Test Championship at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium. "In the opening combination, we have selected only two openers, so the idea is to give them four innings, just let them go out there and express themselves. Mayank has done really well, KL (Rahul) has performed well in the past, he is looking forward to making things count in Test cricket again," Kohli said on the eve of the match.

"At the end of the day, as much as individuals want to perform, it is about what you can do as a team. If you look at the Melbourne Test, how (Hanuma) Vihari and Mayank opened and though Vihari scored just 18 or 20 runs, but he batted for 85 balls, tells you it is all about team, and he handled the situation so well that Pujara and myself could go out there and play the way we did and Pujara then went to get that century for us.

"I think these contributions are not recognised or spoken about so much but as a team we all have markers set as to what is expected from certain batting positions. It is up to them to capitalise and express themselves in these four innings," he added.

Hanuma Vihari impressed one and all with his stable batting in Australia a few months back and another good series versus the West Indies will most probably help him cement a spot in India's Test middle-order.

"Look it again depends on the type of combination that we are going with. Vihari has done really well since the time he has come into the team in two difficult tours. Rohit also did well in Melbourne, so it all depends on what combination we want to go with," he said.

"Vihari also gives you few overs with the ball and he is a pretty solid player. Rohit's quality we have been seeing for years. So it is about who provides the best balance in terms in the XI we choose."

India boosts of a batting line-up that includes Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane and the skipper said the onus will be on the senior batsmen to control the middle-order.

"We are senior players, we want to take the bulk of the load, that why we are in those position as senior batsman in Test cricket. Along with jinx (Ajinkya Rahane), three of us have been playing for a while and we want to control that middle order and take the load off the other players," Kohli said.
Kohli was also impressed with the healthy competition in the team.

"I am just happy about guys grabbing their opportunities. As long as there is healthy competition, for starting the game or contributing for the team, within the group, I think it is a great thing for Indian cricket," he said.

"We are all happy to be in that position where we have a problem of plenty and not need to find players from places. So it is a great position to be," he added.

Virat Kohli with 25 centuries in Tests and 68 centuries overall will be looking to pile on the centuries in the opportunities he gets in the series.

With inputs from PTI

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