Excited to watch Ashwin and Harbhajan bowl in tandem: Virat Kohli

Krishna Chopra / 15 June 2015

Virat Kohli, India’s test captain was a pleased man after his side dominated Bangladesh in a game marred by poor weather. Kohli felt that the Indians might not have won the game, but they were dominant throughout and that was the most significant aspect. This was Kohli’s first test after being appointed as the full time test skipper.

The Delhi hunk was pleased with the performance of his boys and deservingly praised his side. The most important thing though which Kohli said was that he was really excited to watch Ashwin and Harbhajan bowl together in tandem. The duo shared 8 wickets between them as they troubled the Bangladeshi batsmen to a great extent.

Kohli spoke about Ashwin and Harbhajan and said, “Both are quality bowlers. Watching them bowl in tandem was really exciting as a captain. And I think both enjoyed bowling together as well – if one put pressure, the other took a wicket and vice-versa. I would like to have players who can win us games in the bowling unit. And both of them have that ability. We have a long home season coming up, so we need to look at strengthening our team. And both of them are good enough to do he same thing when we play abroad.”

The run machine reiterated his team combination and spoke about playing five bowlers. “I know it’s a long season ahead, but I’m a big fan of playing five bowlers. I would want someone like R Ashwin, who is averaging 40 with the bat in Test matches, and someone like Harbhajan Singh to step up with the bat. Saha too. If these three start clicking, you have eight batsmen. It’s basically up to the first six to take more responsibility.”

Kohli whole heartedly said that he wants the boys to play in order to win and excel. “We want to play that sort of cricket. When I captained in my first Test in Adelaide too, I had the same thought process, that we should play aggressively and give ourselves a chance to win the game. You enjoy the game when you play like that. I think, as a team, it’s very important to have that intensity and attitude especially when we are fielding because that is the time when all 11 are together and you get the true sense of being a team. The credit goes to the whole team for responding to my thinking. We are all on the same page. It’s a good thing and if we keep building on it we’ll get stronger.”

Kohli also said that he didn’t need to say a lot to Harbhajan as he already was an experienced campaigner. “I just told him, ‘this is not your comeback, you were just injured for a while and you’re back now – that should be your mindset. We know you can win us a game and we are confident about you winning us a game.’ He was pretty confident as well. He’s been bowling really well and did so in this game also.”

Kohli concluded by admitting the fact that the dressing room atmosphere in the absence of MS Dhoni was still strange. “It’s strange. The same thing happened after Sachin Tendulkar retired. You suddenly don’t see an impactful figure in the dressing room. As a cricketer, you are used to having him around, listening to him, having discussions with him. Now that he’s not there, you sometimes feel he is going to pop-out of somewhere. Now that he’s retired from the format, the team wants to continue in the same way.”

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