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Managing workloads key in Test Championship, says Virat Kohli

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

India captain Virat Kohli believes the key to winning the World Test Championship lies in how effectively a team is able to manage the workload of their players, especially the fast bowlers.

India registered a resounding 318-run win over West Indies in the first Test in Antigua on Sunday, August 25. Jasprit Bumrah, the paceman, earned the Player of the Match award for his incredible spell of 5-7 that helped blow West Indies away for just 100 runs in the second innings.

With the win, Kohli has now become India’s most successful captain in overseas Tests, and he feels that if India can rotate their players effectively, it can go a long way in maximising their impact.

“That’s probably the most important thing for us right now, managing player workloads,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation. “That’s why he [Bumrah] didn’t play any white-ball cricket after the World Cup, because we wanted him to be fresh for the Tests. He is going to be a key factor for us as long as the Test championship continues. We know how good a bowler he is. And the impact he can make in a spell.

“Shami is the same. Ishant [Sharma] is a banker for years now. And he can make an impact in any spell he bowls. Those three together are bowling really well. Umesh [Yadav] hasn’t had a game, and we have Navdeep Saini, who can bowl 150 clicks, waiting in the wings. We are pretty settled as far as our bowling options are concerned. Managing workloads and the number of overs we bowl is going to be a key factor for us.”

India have a problem of plenty in the middle as well. Kohli left out Rohit Sharma from the playing XI in favour of the young Hanuma Vihari. He received a lot of flak for his team selection, but Vihari came good, scoring 93 in the second innings to push India’s total close to 350.

After the match, Kohli revealed it was Vihari’s ability to bowl that gave him the edge over Sharma. “Combination is absolutely based on players who can provide more than one skill,” said Kohli. “It is about managing the resources that we have and feeling settled about it.

“There will always be opinions on a team selected, but we all understand that whatever decisions are taken are in the best interest of the team.”

India will take on West Indies in the second Test in Kingston, starting on August 30.

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