Before the start of the just-concluded first Test against West Indies, Virat Kohli‘s decision to play Hanuma Vihari ahead of Rohit Sharma drew a lot of criticism. Rohit has been in superb form of late. In the summer’s World Cup, Rohit stood out from the rest of the team with his stunning batting exploits.
The India opener finished the World Cup as the highest run-scorer after scoring record five tons in the tournament. In the subsequent T20I series against West Indies, he scored an impressive fifty in the third game before notching up another fifty in the warm-up game to prove his credentials. Even in his last Test match, Rohit had scored an unbeaten 63 against Australia in Melbourne.
Unsurprisingly, Rohit’s axing drew flak from all around. But fortunately for Virat Kohli, he did not rue his decision of picking Vihari ahead of Rohit. Vihari impressed with his bat as India thrashed West Indies by 318 runs. After scoring 32 in the first innings, Vihari scored 93 in the second – his highest Test score.
Speaking at the end of the game, Virat Kohli made it clear that Vihari got the nod only for the combination the team wanted. Pointing out Vihari’s ability to bowl, Kohli said the decision was taken after consulting the entire team.
“Vihari got a nod because combination is important. He’s an effective part-time bowler and helps us when we need to catch up with the over-rate. We have a group discussion and then we decide what’s best for the team. There will always be opinions about the XI, but people will know that it’s in the interest of the team,” Virat Kohli said.
India and West Indies will now lock horns in the second and final Test from August 30.