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Dravid comes to Kohli's defence

Source: PTI
September 04, 2022 00:00 IST
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'It's about the contributions he makes at different phases of the game. It doesn't have to be in 50s or 100s or a stat for us, even a small contribution makes a lot for us in T20s. He's really keen on putting on good performances.'

Virat Kohli bats in the nets on Saturday

IMAGE: Virat Kohli bats in the nets on Saturday. Photograph: BCCI/Twitter

India head coach Rahul Dravid isn't bothered about the volume of runs scored by his star batter Virat Kohli but is more concerned about how much impact his contributions make in the larger cause of the team.


Kohli's patchy form and a below par strike-rate coming in at No. 3 has been questioned time and again and for the umpteenth time, Dravid came to former India captain's defence.

"He's (Kohli) also coming back after a break, it's nice to see that he's come back fresh, looking forward to playing all these games. He got time to spend in the middle. Hopefully he will kick on from here on and have a good tournament," Dravid said ahead of the Asia Cup Super 4s game against Pakistan.

But he once again tried to assert that Kohli's form is least of concerns as far as he is concerned and also urged people not to be obsessed about one particular player's numbers.

"For us, it's not really about how many runs he makes. Especially with Virat, people get a little bit obsessed with his statistics and numbers. For us, it's really not about that," 'The Wall' said.

"It's about the contributions he makes at different phases of the game. It doesn't have to be in 50s or 100s or a stat for us, even a small contribution makes a lot for us in T20s. He's really keen on putting on good performances," Dravid said.

His lead spin bowling all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has been ruled out of Asia Cup and is also set to be out of World T20 as he is set to undergo a knee surgery which would rule him out for indefinite period.

However, as the head coach has been for other players also, he remained largely non-committal on Jadeja.

"Jadeja obviously has injured his knee. He's under the care of the medical team, seeing the experts. World Cup is a fair way away. We don't want to jump to any conclusions, rule him out or rule him in," Dravid said in his inimitable style.

"People get injured, a lot depends on the rehab, severity of the injury. I don't want to rule him out, make too many comments until I have a much clearer picture or better idea especially when the World Cup is six-seven weeks away now," the head coach said, trying to keep the seriousness of injury under wraps.

Pakistan's pace batteries over the years have gained a lot of traction but Dravid is happy with his bunch which he feels is effective to the core.

"Of course, they (Pakistan) are a very good bowling side, but we too did well to restrict them to 147. You are judged by the results you produce," Dravid said before the clash with arch-rivals.

"I would say in numbers they would have hit 145kph, 147kph, we may have been in the 135-125kph mark, swing and or no swing but the bowling performance of our fast bowlers was also pretty good.

"I'm confident that we have a good bowling attack as well that produces results, it might not be as..." Dravid stopped, refraining from using a word.

"I wanted to use a word but I can't use that word (here). It's coming out of mind but I can't use it here," he said, leaving everyone in splits.

"It's a four letter that starts with s, but it's okay," he added.

Dravid however did indicate that out of form pacer Avesh KHan is a bit under the weather and could miss Sunday's game.

"Avesh is feeling under the weather, fever and stuff, doctors managing him. Hopefully it's not serious, okay for tomorrow or later part of the tournament," Dravid said.

For the T20 World Cup, DRavid said that Rishabh Pant isn't the first choice keeper as there won't be any pecking order for him and Dinesh Karthik.

The surprise package in their match against Pakistan was omission of Pant as the Rohit Sharma-led side preferred the experienced glovesman in Dinesh Karthik ahead of the flamboyant left-hander.

"There's no first choice wicketkeeper in the side... We play according to the conditions, situation, opposition and what we feel is the best XI.

"There's no such a thing as first choice playing XI for every single condition. That will vary. On that day against Pakistan, we felt Dinesh was the right choice for us.

But he conceded that it was difficult to leave out Pant.

"It's very difficult to leave out anyone, but we are focused on picking the best XI. We have a little bit of squad culture in our side who believe that we have a very good squad of XV and anyone can play," he said.

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