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Ajinkya Rahane will start, not Karun Nair: Virat Kohli

Rahane didn't have a great series against England and will start ahead of Nair for the Thursday Test.

PTI | Hyderabad |


Indian captain Virat Kohli today made it clear that Karun Nair's one triple hundred cannot "overshadow" the two years of consistent performance by his deputy Ajinkya Rahane who now "walks back" into the playing XI as a fully fit player.

Rahane didn't have a great series against England and was out with a fractured hand but is now going to be picked ahead of Nair for the one-off Test starting on Thursday.

"See, I feel one game doesn't overshadow two years of hard work from another player. You need to understand what 'Jinx' (nickname) has done for the team over the past two years. He averages almost 50 in the format and he is probably the most solid batsman in our team in the Test format," said Kohli as he ended speculation on who will bat at No.5.

Young Nair is expected to go down as one of the rarest players after Englishman Andy Sandham, who scored 325 against West Indies at Kingston in 1925, to be dropped from the very next game. In Sandham's case, he was 40 at that time and never subsequently played a Test match.

But Kohli made it clear that the triple century has helped Karun seal a spot in the squad which is a no mean feat.

"Karun was stepping into his (Rahane's) shoes and what he did was remarkable, sealing his spot as far as the squad is concerned. That was something that Karun did. As I said you can't overlook Ajinkya's two years of hard work on basis of one Test match. He (Rahane) deserves to walk back into the team whenever he got fit. That's my take on it," he said.

One of the rare Indian captains, who does not believe in keeping things vague, Kohli also made it clear that chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav may have to wait a bit longer as they have a core set of four spinners — Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, and Amit Mishra — in Test format now.

"In future, I don't know how will things shape up but right now our four spinners are pretty much set and Mishy has been doing really well but unfortunately he had his little injury, so Kuldeep comes in. But he will stay in our scheme of things with 2/3 other spinners whom we have targeted," said Kohli as he felt that Yadav would bring something "different" to the table.

For him, it is the job of a leader to communicate the team's philosophy and thinking categorically to the players so that they are aware of where they stand.

"I think communication is a big thing in that front and that's something we really do well in this team. Management and myself conveying to the players about what we want and how we look at each player in the team," he stated.

"You need to back players for a long time for them to become match winners and eventually have long careers for Team India and produce consistent performances. I think bowlers can be switched according to conditions. In some places, we might want to play three spinners or in some conditions three seamers or may be one seamer, who is more effective on seamer friendly tracks. I think those things are subjected to change and adjustment," said Kohli.