Transitions are must, but they must happen gradually. That’s the view of Virat Kohli, who is captaining India’s Test team at a time when their three middle-order regulars, himself included, are all 33, and have all endured prolonged poor run with the bat even as younger contenders such as Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyer knock ominously on the door for opportunity.
Having missed the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg due to upper back spasms, Kohli is set to return for the third Test in Cape Town, which begins on Tuesday. This will be the 99th Test of Virat Kohli, originally scheduled to be 100th if it was not for the injury. He will most likely take the place of Vihari – who batted solidly in both innings in Johannesburg, scoring 60 runs while being unbeaten once. Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane may have felt some pressure after low scores in the first innings, but they brought all their skill and experience to a tough situation in the second innings, both scoring half-centuries while putting together a counterattacking third-wicket partnership of 111.
“I obviously cannot pinpoint when we will have a talk about transition,” Kohli said, when asked whether the team management had had any conversations about a longer-term transition in the middle order. “I think the game itself pans out in a way where transitions happen naturally, so it cannot be forced by individuals, I feel.
“And if you look at the last Test, both Jinks and Pujara, the way they batted in the second innings, that experience is obviously priceless for us, and especially in series like these where you know these guys have done the job in the past and when you are playing overseas, in tough conditions, these guys will always step up with impact performances.
“We saw that in Australia as well, the last time we were there (2020-21), we’re seeing that now as well in the last Test. Crucial knocks. Crucial knocks in crucial situations, in crucial scenarios, and that has a lot of value.
“So I feel transitions do happen, but they happen naturally, and a conversation cannot be forced around a transition is what I’ve experienced and what I feel. When the transition has to happen, everyone knows in which direction the team is moving, and that is a very natural progression, so I think we should leave the transition to unfold itself, and not necessarily force individuals in difficult situations or tricky situations and I truly believe in that.”
Avishkar Govardhane is a Sports Editor and enthusiast, working here at Clout News covering the latest Cricket News.