Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli struggled with lower back pain at Lord’s (Getty Images)

If the testing conditions weren’t enough for the Indian team to deal with in England, they are now facing the prospect of their captain Virat Kohli missing the third Test on account of a lower back pain. Kohli has been the only positive for India as far as their batting goes, scoring 250 runs across four innings while others around him have crumbled.

Even though Kohli has claimed he’ll get fit on time ahead of the third Test at Trent Bridge that starts from August 18, it’s not a certainty.

Legendary Sunil Gavaskar has said India shouldn’t shy away from including captain Kohli in their playing XI even if he’s 50 per cent fit.

“Virat Kohli has to assess his injury himself.. whether to take the risk or not.. But if I were the captain, I would want Kohli to play even if he’s 50 per cent fit. He’s such a crucial element. He has to play unless he can’t bend or walk,” Gavaskar told India Today.

He feels Kohli should be the one to take call on whether he’s match fit. “At the end of the day he has to decide how much pain can he bear. For me Virat has to play,” he said.

Gavaskar wants India to play an extra batsman in Karun Nair at Trent Bridge citing the need of someone not scarred by the two defeats (Edgbaston and Lord’s) and the fact that there’s no need to play two spinners.

“I don’t think there will be any more room to play two spinners except at the Oval. I think it makes sense to bring in Karun Nair as extra batsman at No.6; particularly because, Virat is also not 100 per cent. Also when you have lost two Tests and are mentally down, someone who has not been part of a losing eleven may be in better space,” he said.

The failure of Dinesh Karthik as a batsman has also given voice to the inclusion of young Rishabh Pant and Gavaskar agrees. “I would also want Rishabh Pant to come in place of Dinesh Karthik with the gloves to add some depth,” he was quoted as saying.