Virat Kohli, on Friday, made it clear that he is not too stressed about the possibility of a ban on all-rounder Hardik Pandya for his “inappropriate” comments on women as Team India has a ready replacement in Ravindra Jadeja. The visitors are set to play against Australia in the first one-day international (ODI) of the three-match series at Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday. “We played in India against the West Indies with a finger spinner and a wrist spinner. So it’s good that we have someone like Jadeja who can do the all-rounder’s role if a scenario like that occurs,” Kohli said in the press conference on the eve of the first ODI.
“So we are not too stressed as a team (about the Pandya situation) because you’ll always have things that you can do in terms of creating that balance for the side. And hence, we keep players who can provide balance with bat and ball as a backup anyway,” he added.
Kohli distanced his team from controversial comments made by all-rounder Hardik Pandya on a TV chat show that sparked social media outrage.
The two are facing the prospect of being banned for a couple of matches.
“I don’t think we will have too much of trouble if we have to change our combinations. We are pretty comfortable as a side and any combination that we go in with,” he said.
Kohli said he is pleased with the current team’s combination and there isn’t too much room for tinkering with this squad in the build-up to the ODI World Cup in England starting May 30.
“The fact we have not many games left before the World Cup and hence we want to play the side that more or less will feature in the World Cup. The exceptional case of Jasprit Bumrah being rested is purely because of the workload in the Test series.
“But apart from that I don’t think combination-wise we are going to look to tinker too much,” he said.
However, Kohli did admit that form and fitness could be decisive for a couple of spots. “…a couple of spots which might need rectification will be looked at but apart from that the idea is to make that combination and that team play together for the whole period left before the World Cup,” said Kohli.
Pandya and Rahul might not be available for the start of this three-match series, and combined with Bumrah’s absence, Kohli said this is an opportunity to experiment with a few more pacers before finalising the preferred attack for the World Cup.
(With PTI Inputs)