Virat Kohli will correct his Test batting record in England during the five-match series starting tomorrow, feels to former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar, and the only Indian batsman to score three Test centuries at Lord’s.
Writing in today’s Times of India, Vengsarkar also stated that India must definitely play left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav and the uncapped wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant at Edgbaston.
“I definitely expect Virat Kohli to do better this time in England. What happened the last time was four years ago. Since that time, Virat has progressed to be amongst the top batsmen in world cricket. He’s batting absolutely beautifully,” wrote Vengsarkar, who played 116 Tests and 129 ODIs. “Of course, we expect a lot from him and the others as well. I’m sure that he will be keen to do well in England this time. I’m sure he’ll be under pressure at the start because of what happened the last time. However, I’m sure that once he gets into his groove, he’ll flourish.
“When it comes to the spinners, I’ll pick Kuldeep Yadav over anybody else. I think that the English batsmen aren’t very comfortable against a wristspinner. They’re wary of him, and the Indian team should make sure of that advantage,” added the one-time chief selector for the BCCI. “I’ll go with Rishabh Pant as the wicketkeeper, because he’s an unknown quantity. He can play a crucial hand.”
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The Indian team management looks likely to pick Murali Vijay and KL Rahul as the openers for Birmingham, given that Shikhar Dhawan made two zeroes in the tour match against Essex, which means that an out-of-sorts Cheteshwar Pujara will hold on to the No 3 spot. There has been a degree of speculation over Pujara’s batting abilities in bowler-friendly English conditions following a lean run in county cricket for Yorkshire – he averaged 14.33 in six four-day matches – and scores of 1 and 23 versus Essex.
Vengsarkar, who averaged 48 from 13 Test matches in England, said it would not be far to comment on Pujara’s form owing to the fact that he had not seen him bat in the country recently.
“It depends on the think-tank whether they think he should bat at No. 3. I don’t know if the selectors have watched him in England. I think the side game before the Test will give them an idea of what the XI should be for the Test match. It’s a totally different thing — batting in India to batting in England. I’m certain that England will keep grass on the wickets, and the ball will move in the air and off the wicket as well,” wrote the 61-year-old.
Vengsarkar called on Umesh Yadav to deliver in the absence of the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.
“I think that our fast bowling attack is a bit ill-equipped. A lot would depend on how Umesh Yadav raises his game. Umesh has got pace and swing, which makes him dangerous in English conditions. I expect him to do well if he bowls upto his potential. On the other hand, a batsman can adjust against a bowler like Bhuvneshwar, who largely depends on swing,” wrote Vengsarkar.