NEW DELHI: Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar on Monday said that Virat Kohli was dismissed on two good balls against England in the first two Tests, and there is nothing to worry about as he is a modern-day great. The Indian skipper has been troubled outside the off stump and his dismissals have been a cause of worry for the fans.
The first Test ended in a draw but India staged an incredible comeback to take the second game by 151 runs at the Lord's Cricket Ground. Both sides will now lock horns in the third Test, beginning Wednesday at Headingley, Leeds.
"Virat Kohli got runs against England in the 2018 series with all their bowlers available. He got a great ball from James Anderson in the first Test, fought hard for his 40 odd in the second Test. You bowl an outswinger to batsmen in the corridor, they will knick the ball. These are conditions where the ball does swing and seam around. Bowling on the fourth stump is very difficult to play for most batsmen," said Agarkar while replying to an ANI query during an interaction with select media organised by Sony Network.
"When a bowler is in good spell, that Sam Curran ball in the second innings of the Lord's Test was good deception. I am sure Kohli will like to get runs and all fans would like him to get big runs. The guy has got enough runs in international cricket, and maybe when you do not get runs, you are eager to get into the series, that might have happened. Let's wait and see, but in three innings you do not want to write someone off who has been a modern-day great," he added.
When ANI asked about England's baffling short-ball tactics to Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami in the second innings of Lord's Test, Agarkar said: "The tactics were bizarre for how long they did it. You would not have seen it happen if Anderson was bowling. They looked like they wanted to get back at Bumrah because he bowled a few bumpers to Anderson when India bowled."
"Whether head coach Chris Silverwood could have stepped in, I do not know how their system works, whether it is left to the captain. I believe the captain should be in charge. Joe Root is a very experienced player, they just overdid the tactic. Maybe they thought these guys will eventually get out. Clearly, England got it wrong," he added.
Talking about pacer Mohammed Siraj, Agarkar said: "I think he runs in every ball, that has been impressive. Fast bowling is not easy, bowling 20-25 overs a day is not easy. He has been doing that for his captain, everytime Virat has thrown the ball to him, I cannot remember a single spell where he has given 70-80 per cent, he just gives his 100 per cent."
"His lines are so tight, there is help with the new ball, he has troubled the left-handers. He is at the batsmen all the time, there not have been low spells, I am very impressed with him," he added.
Agarkar also said that there should not be too many changes in the third Test as the winning combination should not be tinkered with. However, he also said that Ravichandran Ashwin can be brought in if the conditions are dry.
"I cannot imagine unless the conditions drastically change, I think we are expecting some hot weather in the UK, if it is really dry I cannot imagine, Ashwin might be the only change if a spinner does come in. I cannot imagine why after you have won a Test match, unless you have real problems, why you would change? As well as Shardul did bowl in the first Test, he might have to miss in this one because Ishant did bowl well in the second Test," said Agarkar.
Talking about whether Cheteshwar Pujara should be persisted with in the series, Agarkar said: "I think it was an important partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the second innings of the second Test. I think anytime you do not get runs, there will be pressure. It is also the experience, they have played in these conditions before. Even if Pujara had not gotten 45 in the second innings, I hope they would have persisted with him for another Test. If you have started with experienced guys, you have to give them three Tests at least."
India and England provided an intense spectacle on day five of the second Test as players from both sides engaged in verbals and in the end, it was Kohli's team who emerged triumphant in an engaging match.