Kohli: Picking 20 wickets more crucial than runs in Shardul's absence

India vs England 2nd Test: Confirming pacer Shardul Thakur's absence for the second Test, Kohli said India will focus on the equation of wickets than runs against England at Lord's.

Kohli also expressed his displeasure for India losing points in the new World Test Championship cycle for maintaining  slow over-rate in Nottingham.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Confirming that pacer Shardul Thakur, who was preferred in the series-opener for his additional utility with the bat, will miss the second Test, India captain Virat Kohli has said that it will not necessarily mean that the team will stick to the four-pacer combination in the second Test against England, starting at Lord’s from Thursday.

“From what we are told, he should be okay for the third Test. I think it was a myofascial strain on his left hamstring,” Kohli said in a virtual interaction on Tuesday.

“For us, it’s about finding that perfect balance but if someone like Shardul is not available, then we’ll definitely first think how to pick up 20 wickets and not try to plug in another guy who can give us some runs with the bat. And we’ll be very comfortable after how the first Test went.”

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With a pace-friendly track in Nottingham, in a bid to bolster its batting department, the Indian team management went ahead with Thakur at No. 8 and Ravindra Jadeja at No. 7. It will be interesting to see whether off-spinner R. Ashwin, unfortunate to have missed out last week, or Ishant Sharma, who was instrumental in India’s win at Lord’s in 2014 is included in the XI on Wednesday.

Kohli stressed that Ravindra Jadeja coming good with the willow is one of the biggest gains from the last week. “The good thing is Jadeja has got runs in the first game already so he’ll go into the second game confident. That already makes our batting a bit deeper. Lower-order contributed with the bat as well,” Kohli said.

“Shardul brings in more batting ability but having said that, from the batsmen's point of view we are well-placed because Pujara,  Jinks and myself, we did not score too many. Every game is an opportunity for the other batters to step up as well. Rohit (Sharma) and K.L. (Rahul) played really well. We are very comfortable where we are placed as a batting unit and we don’t feel we might be a batsman short if Shardul doesn't play.

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Kohli also expressed his displeasure for India losing points in the new World Test Championship cycle for maintaining  slow over-rate in Nottingham.

“You don’t want to be that far behind in the game that you are not able to catch up and cover your overs in time which could cost the points, which are are very, very crucial,” he said.

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