Virat Kohli Hints Rahane May Play Second Test vs South Africa

“Its funny. Before last Test, everyone was saying Ajinkya Rahane should not be included in playing XI,” said Virat.

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Virat Kohli has hinted that batsman Ajinkya Rahane might be included in India’s squad for the second Test against South Africa, starting 13 January. The Indian captain took a dig at critics questioning Rahane's exclusion in the first Test against South Africa, stating that those who wanted his deputy's omission are now clamouring for his comeback.

It’s funny how things change in a matter of weeks, or just about five days. Before the first Test no-one thought that he should be in the eleven and now suddenly people are looking at the other option.
Virat Kohli

"For us as a team, it's all about finding the right balance. If players fit in in the kind of balance we want to go in with as a side, then they will fit in. We certainly don't go on opinions that are created outside, and talk of the town and all those sort of things," Kohli's sarcasm at the pre-match conference was not lost on anyone.

"He (Rahane) is a quality player. He has done well in South Africa, in all conditions actually away from home. He is probably been our most consistent and solid player away from home," the skipper said.

In a previous press conference, Kohli had clarified that opener Rohit Sharma had been selected because of his current form. While the skipper dropped hints that there might be changes in the playing XI without divulging any further.

I explained the reasons why Rohit Sharma started ahead of him. I am not saying that Ajinkya cannot or will not start in this game. Possibilities are all open at the moment and we shall decide after practice.
Virat Kohli

“As far as the opening combination goes, we will decide today at the end of practice what is it that we are going to go within this game. We might do something different also, but there is definitely no need to panic,” he added.

The wicket in Centurion promises ample pace and bounce, but doesn't have as much green grass unlike Newlands' wicket, reckons Kohli.

"It looks likely a really lively pitch. It is exactly what we expected it to be and we actually wanted it to be that way so that both teams are into the contest provided they play some good cricket. This pitch will again test us to play our best cricket and that is something that we are looking forward to do," he said.

Kohli urged his batsmen not get surprised by the bounce.

"We must not get surprised by the bounce here. We have to maintain composure when you get sudden change of bounce, which you experience in South Africa. Here the bounce can be steep from length also. You need to mentally tune yourself to these things and accept that it is going to be a major part of batting in South Africa."

The skipper feels that despite the mistakes committed, his batting unit is in much better shape for this game.

I feel that definitely the batting order, through mistakes we committed in the first game and through the experience we gained in the first game, we are certainly in a much better shape to come at their bowling attack in this Test.
Virat Kohli

Even though India were bowled out for totals of 209 & 135 in the first Test, Kohli feels that there is no need to press the panic button yet.

"I don't think we need to panic because of collapses. Whether we are playing five batsmen or six, you still need to apply yourself.

"It doesn't mean that if you are playing six batters, you can afford to go out and play loose shots. You still need to have a solid technique and go out there and be ready to face spells, which are going to be difficult. We need to embrace that," explained Kohli.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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