CHENNAI: MSK Prasad, chairman of the national selection committee, said during India’s tour of Sri Lanka that they have been resting players and rotating them to figure out the best possible 15 for the 2019 World Cup.
Skipper Virat Kohli is known to be bold and has been a strong advocate of the five-bowler theory in Test cricket. In the shorter version, keeping in mind English conditions, will he play three bowlers and two bowling all-rounders?
“Could be, possibly. A lot of teams are heading that way. You need depth in batting and bowling. You need to identify at least two of those guys. That’s something all teams are moving towards. You need a proper all-rounder and not a bowling and a batting all-rounder. That’s something we have focused on. It paid dividends in the last series and it’s something we will look to continue,’’ Kohli said.
Dav Whatmore, who has groomed the skipper in his younger days, says Kohli always wanted to lead from the front. “He is aggressive and does not like to wait for things to happen. He wants to make things happen. When a new batsman comes in, he doesn’t wait for him to make a mistake. He tries to create an atmosphere, may be a bowling change or field setting, to get a wicket,’’ said Whatmore on Kohli’s approach.
Kohli hinted that Hardik Pandya was the find of the Sri Lanka tour.
“Hardik has excellent work ethic and has all the credentials to be a genuine all-rounder. In Sri Lanka, he scored a brilliant Test century batting with the tail. He is capable of doing well against Australia or South Africa,” said Baroda U-23 coach Sukhbir Singh, who has worked with Hardik.
A source close to the India think tank said Hardik and Ravindra Jadeja could be the all-rounders in contention for slots in the series against Australia.
“With Axar Patel injured, Hardik, Jadeja and may be Kedar Jadhav can be tried out. It will depend on the pitch and conditions,” said a source.
Whatmore believes it is too early to start thinking about the World Cup. “There is still a long way to go. But yes, Australia are a quality side and it will be useful to test the bench strength and see who can be groomed for the quadrennial event,’’ he opined.