Virat Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma believes India missed out on the cricket champion’s services as both hitter and captain in the Johannesburg test. Sharma said visitors will need their skipper’s assault and racing in Cape Town.
Kohli was excluded from the Wanderers test due to upper back spasms. In his absence, KL Rahul led the team. But India succumbed to a seven-wicket defeat in Johannesburg, tasting its first test loss at the site.
In a press conference ahead of the third test, the Indian captain confirmed he is fit and ready to lead the team in the litmus test, which begins on Tuesday.
Discussing Kohli’s return to the XI, Sharma said on the Khelneeti podcast that his presence will boost the team’s chances. The cricketer’s childhood coach explained:
“India missed Virat Kohli as both hitter and captain in the previous test. I hope he comes back to the squad with the same aggressiveness he’s known for. If both of those things happen it will be a very good sign for India and it will put them in a strong position to win the series.
The Indian captain scored 35 and 18 in the first test at Centurion. On both occasions, the 33-year-old was sacked as he walked outside the stump.
“A golden opportunity for Kohli and co. To win a series in South Africa” – Nikhil Chopra
India may have missed the making of history in Johannesburg. However, according to former spinner Nikhil Chopra, the visitors have a good chance of winning their first Test series in South Africa.
Hailing Kohli for turning the Indian team into a group of match winners, Chopra said:
“There is no doubt that he made this team a winning team. There were some incredible performances, especially outside the house. While bowlers have claimed 20 wickets consistently, batters have also contributed. Now he has a chance to make history in South Africa. I think this is a golden opportunity for Kohli and co. win a series in South Africa.
One of the big questions before the Cape Test is who should give way to Kohli. Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane scored around fifty in the last Test. However, Hanuma Vihari also made crucial contributions.
According to Sharma, although it may seem unfair, Vihari will have to abstain. He explained:
“Pujara and Rahane are champion players. Yes, they’ve struggled a bit lately, but Kohli is someone who believes in supporting your players when they need it most. This is what he does with Rahane and Pujara, who have performed splendidly in the past.
Sharma added about Vihari:
“I feel bad for Hanuma Vihari because he is a very good player. He beat with a lot of responsibility whenever he has chances. But cricketers sometimes have to sit down because there are old people in front of them, and Vihari will also have to wait for his opportunities.
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Pujara and Rahane contributed 53 and 58 respectively in the second innings in Johannesburg, while Vihari scored an unbeaten 40.