Veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh feels it is a bit too much to make 38 changes in as many Tests but it doesn’t matter as long as Virat Kohli and Co. keep delivering results.
India played their 38th combination in as many Test matches under Kohli at the Trent Bridge Test which the visitors won by a massive 203 runs to keep themselves afloat in the five-match series.
“Personally, I think 38 changes in 38 Tests is too much. But every captain is different, and every team’s dynamics are different. Maybe they want horses for courses, and it works for them,” Harbhajan said.
“They were close to winning the series in South Africa. They have turned things here in England. If the captain believes in it, the management agrees and players accept it, then what you and I think doesn’t matter.”
Kohli has been in impressive form during the England tour as he blasted two centuries to lead India from the front.
The India skipper had practiced with Raghu (member of Indian support staff) in Mumbai ahead of the tour, taking throw downs on wet surfaces in a bid to replicate these English conditions.
Complementing Kohli’s batting and captaincy, Harbhajan said, “When you do that, take throw downs from 18 yards or so with a wet, new ball, you get used to pace and movement.”
“Then, batting at 22 yards, it doesn’t affect you. Kohli is not swayed by pace or movement, he bats out of the crease, he covers the stumps, plays close to the body and plays late, so he has worked hard at getting better in English conditions.”
Harbhajan said leaving the ball well is one of the most important aspects of scoring runs in English conditions and Kohli was rewarded for his discipline.
“His head too is very disciplined in terms of leaving and playing because here leaving is more important. If you leave the ball well in England, then you will score a lot of runs, but for that you need to be at the wicket and that happens only if you leave a lot of balls,” he said.
“He is a brilliant batsman. I haven’t seen many batsmen come to South Africa, Australia and England, and make conditions look so easy to bat on. He bats on a different wicket than other batsmen.”
Heaping further praise on Kohli, Harbhajan said, “Virat’s best quality is that he says we will play to win – whatever the situation we will play to win. In that process you might lose a few games but once you get into that groove, you will win many games.”