As the Men in Blue land in South Africa and prepare to take on the hosts in the Test series, we bring to you glimpses of action on the filed and off it
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly has refused to speak on white-ball captaincy row following remarks of Virat Kohli on his earlier comments. “Let’s not take this further, I have nothing to say,” Sourav Ganguly told reporters here. Asked if there would be any action taken against Virat Kohli after the South Africa tour, Ganguly said, “I have nothing to say. It is the matter of the BCCI and they will only deal with it.”
A day after Kohli was removed as the ODI captain, BCCI President Ganguly had said that he had indeed spoken to Virat regarding the leadership change adding that he had requested Virat to also not give up the T20I captaincy. “It’s a call that the BCCI and the selectors took together. Actually, the BCCI had requested Virat to not step down as the T20I skipper but obviously, he did not agree. And the selectors then did not feel it right to have two different captains for two white-ball formats,” Ganguly had told ANI.
“So, it was decided that Virat will continue as Test captain and Rohit will take over as the white-ball captain. I as President personally spoke to Virat Kohli and the chairman of selectors has also spoken to him,” the BCCI president had added.
However, Virat Kohli held a press conference and contradicted Ganguly, saying he was never asked to leave the T20I captaincy. “Whatever was said about the communication that happened during the decision that was made was inaccurate. I was contacted one-and-a-half hours before the selection meeting on 8th for the Test series,” said Kohli.
Virat Kohli-led Indian red-ball squad is in Johannesburg, South Africa, to lock horns with Proteas in the three-match Test series. The first test match begins on December 26.
Matter of opinion rather than controversy: Madan Lal
Former cricketer Madan Lal said that the rift between India Test skipper Virat Kohli and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is not a controversy but a matter of opinion.
“I think this situation should have been handled in a better way because it is not a controversy but a matter of opinion. I don’t know what Sourav had said to Virat so I don’t want to comment on that. But I think that Sourav being the President should come out and give an explanation and that will be the end of the entire issue. We need to be focused on the South Africa tour right now as it is an important game for us,” Madan Lal told ANI.
Madan Lal further said he agrees with Sunil Gavaskar that Kohli should clear the issue with management.
“Gavaskar is correct with his point. Virat should clear all his issues with the management. This is not a big matter. I would say that the selectors should have handled the situation better. It is the duty of selectors to look after and stop these controversies. I am not sure if the selectors spoke to Virat before taking the decision,” said Madan Lal.
KL Rahul to don vice-captaincy hat
KL Rahul will don the vice-captaincy hat for the upcoming three-match Test series against South Africa.
Rohit Sharma would have been the vice-captain, but a hamstring injury ruled him out of the series and hence Rahul would act as deputy to Virat Kohli. Sources in the know of developments confirmed to ANI that Rahul would indeed be the vice-captain for Tests against South Africa.
“Yes, with Rohit missing, KL Rahul would be the vice-captain,” the source said.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday had confirmed that Rohit Sharma was ruled out of the three-match Test series against South Africa due to a hamstring issue.
“Team India Test vice-captain Rohit Sharma sustained a left hamstring injury during his training session here in Mumbai yesterday,” the BCCI stated in an official release.
“He has been ruled out of the upcoming 3-match Test series against South Africa. Priyank Panchal will replace Rohit Sharma in the Test squad,” it added.
Indian squad begins training for first Test
The Virat Kohli-led Indian Test squad has begun preparation for the South Africa tour ahead of the first Test which gets underway from December 26.
South Africa and India will lock horns in the three-match Test series before the two sides meet in the limited-overs format. The Indian squad held their first practice session on Saturday to gear up for the South Africa tour.
“#TeamIndia begin preparations for the first Test in Centurion Stadium. First practice session done,” BCCI tweeted the pictures from the practice session.
The Indian Test squad arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday. Rohit Sharma will be missing the upcoming Test series after the hamstring injury and Priyank Panchal was named as the replacement.
Best opportunity to win our 1st series in South Africa: Pujara
Ahead of the South African series, Indian batter Cheteshwar Pujara said the visiting side’s bowlers have always been the “difference” between two teams in earlier tours as he hopes for a similar performance in the upcoming games.
South Africa and India will lock horns in the three-match Test series before the two sides meet in the limited-overs format. The Test series begins on December 26. Pujara has backed the Indian bowlers to deliver for the visitors in the upcoming South Africa series.
“Our fast bowlers have been the difference between the two sides whenever we have played abroad. If you look at the Australia series, even if you look at the England series, we have done exceptionally well as a bowling unit and I am sure that will be the case even in South Africa,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Pujara as saying.
“Our fast bowlers are our strength and I hope that they will be able to utilise these conditions and give us 20 wickets in every Test match,” he added.
India recently defeated New Zealand in the Test series 1-0 and Pujara feels this is the best opportunity for the Indian squad to clinch the series in South Africa.
“The good thing is we played a couple of Test matches in India. So, most of the guys are in touch, and when it comes to preparation, the support staff has been excellent. They have been supporting us well and we have five or six days more before we head into the first Test,” said Pujara.
“I am sure there is enough time for us to prepare and guys are looking forward to this series. This is the best opportunity for us to win our first series in South Africa. So, all of us are looking forward to it,” he added.
Kohli’s new avatar bowls over fans
Virat Kohli is known for his attractive batting style which has always been a challenge for any bowler in the world.
However, the Test skipper unfolded his entertaining avatar to the fans in his latest social media post where he was seen trying out the popular helium balloon challenge. Currently the most followed Indian sportsman on social media, Kohli who is also the brand ambassador of PUMA was seen answering some of the most searched questions about him in a hilarious high-pitched voice.
Considering his huge popularity, there have been a number of questions searched by his fans on the internet regularly, if not daily, to get more information about their favourite batsman.
The 33-year-old India Test skipper was seen enjoying the challenge which has been taken up by celebrities not just from India but world over.
If someone is a Kohli fan and wonders if he owns a private jet, drinks black water, what is he doing right now or was he good at studies, the video is a must watch for them.