HYDERABAD: Almost since eternity, Indian batsmen have generally hogged the limelight, in all formats of the game. Each time the team goes into a Test match, it is assumed that the battle is between Indian batsmen and opposition bowlers. The build-up to the Bangladesh Test, to be played at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium from Thursday, has been no different.
But when a journalist asked the question to Virat Kohli on Wednesday, he was in for a big surprise. The India captain clearly stated that cricket is a team game, and it’s the bowlers who win matches.
“I think it wouldn’t be fair to say that the competition will be between Indian batsmen and the opposition bowlers. I mean you can score 800 runs over a period of time. But if you don’t have wicket-taking bowlers, it is a total waste. It is the bowlers who win you matches, and that has certainly been the case with us in this home leg,” Kohli said of victories in seven of the eight Tests this season.
The pitch, that has always aided batsmen initially, is known to be conducive for bowlers on the last two days. It is noteworthy that in the last Test at this stadium — India vs Australia in 2013 — bowlers came to the fore and bundled out the visitors for just 237 in the first innings, which set the tone for rest of the match.
So the role of bowlers becomes all the more crucial. Throughout the home leg, Indian bowlers have done well and consistently provided those 20 wickets, as a result of which India secured wins over New Zealand (3-0) and England (4-0).
“If not for bowlers, we wouldn’t have won the last match against England at Chennai. The boys were patient and waited for the batsmen to make mistakes. That worked for us. So it is not just our batting that is strong, but our bowling is strong too.”
Kohli also pointed out that Bangladesh have shown in the past they are good with the bat too, and just don’t rely on spinners in Test matches.
“We are going to give full respect to their batsmen. They did well against New Zealand to score nearly 600 runs at 4.5 per over. That’s certainly a huge achievement. They have a good batting squad. So it is not just one aspect of the opposition that we need to be wary of.”
Given that Bangladesh have surprised India in the shorter format of the game quite a few times, Kohli is in no mood to take them lightly. He is treating this match like any other encounter against a strong team.
“Bangladesh is a really good side. They have proven their credentials in one-dayers. Probably they are yet to reach that mark in Tests, but we can’t take them lightly,” Kohli concluded.