Saha is first choice keeper for Tests: Kohli

Saha is first choice keeper for Tests: Kohli

Bengaluru, July 4 (IANS) Test skipper Virat Kohli on Monday said that Bengal’s Wriddhiman Saha will be the first choice wicketkeeper when the Indian cricket team takes on the West Indies in a four-match series later this month.

Prior to the team’s departure for the Caribbean, Kohli said young Lokesh Rahul is an opening batsman and a part-time keeper but Saha being the specialist keeper can make those half-chances count in the longer version of the game.

“Obviously whenever Rahul played, he has played as an opener or as a back-up option for the opening slot. I think it is up to the team management to take a call on the batting combination but as wicketkeeping goes, Saha being a specialist keeper is always the first choice,” Kohli told reporters here.

“Saha’s batting has also improved a lot in the last few months and we can bank on him as he is a quality glovesman who can grab those half chances.”

Kohli, who has captained Rahul in the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) side during the Indian Premier League (IPL), said the Karnataka batsman has worked a lot on his wicketkeeping and can be a handy option.

“KL has worked a lot on his keeping and will be a handy option if Saha has an injury. He is an established Test batsman who can also keep wickets. If Rahul has to replace Saha, the middle order batting will be boosted but being a specialist, Saha gets the preference,” he said.

Kumble admires Kohli’s aggression but reminds of a “thin line”

Bengaluru, July 4 (IANS) Ahead of the Indian cricket team’s departure for the West Indies for the four-match Test series, head coach Anil Kumble on Monday admired skipper Virat Kohli’s on-field aggression but at the same time reminded the players of a “thin line” which needs to be respected.

“I love his (Kohli’s) aggression. I was also no different as I was very aggressive. But we were probably very different in terms of how we came across in the field. But you don’t want to curb aggression. I will be the last person to curb someone’s natural instincts,” Kumble said at the pre-departure presser here.

However, the legendary leg-spinner also cautioned them against crossing the line, being “ambassadors of India”.

“But we all know how important it is to be ambassadors of India and part of the Indian cricket team. That everybody understands. We will ensure there is a thin line and I hope everybody knows that. I won’t certainly curb anyone’s natural instincts,” Kumble said with Kohli by his side.

Kumble, who will be with the side on his maiden assignment, said instead of looking at the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses, the visitors must improve on their shortcomings in the warm-up games leading to the first Test.

“We have a couple of practice games where all the players will get a chance to have a knock and then we will decide on what’s going to be the combination for the first Test,” he said.

“Only a few of them have played there in Tests, the others have played in the shorter formats. So instead of looking at the opposition, we will look at ourselves on ways to improve.”

Kumble, India’s highest wicket-taker with 619 scalps, wants his side to focus on consistency and winning in the longer version.

“As a coach, you want the team to win and prepare them to the best of their ability. To ensure that all areas are covered, skill-wise as well as strategy-wise, so that they are able to assess any situation and find a solution on their own.

“Good part is that we are playing a lot of Test cricket and we will be able to assess the shortcomings if any and try to plug that. We will be playing 17 Tests, starting with West Indies and then New Zealand, England and Australia at home,” he said.

“The goal is to remain consistent and win as many matches as you don’t go into a match thinking that you cannot win it,” the leggie added.

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