Kohli's India Risk It With Shaw And Pink Ball, Decide To Bat
INDIA VS AUSTRALIA | BORDER-GAVASKAR TROPHY | 1ST TEST, ADELAIDE PREVIEW
Prithvi Shaw. Pic courtesy SkySports
India is looking to dominate, led by Virat Kohli, who by his own admission is "a representation of the new India".
"We want to take up challenges, move forward with optimism and positivity, make sure we are up and ready for any challenge that comes our way," Kohli told journalists on the eve of the Test.
Personally, Kohli is seen by the Australians as a non-Australian with an Aussie mindset. At 32, Kohli may still have another tour of Australia left in his illustrious career.
He has done well in Adelaide. So well, that he is closer to extinguishing records of two great batsmen, Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar set in Adelaide.
A total of 180 runs, two innings combined, in the only Test he plays before leaving for Mumbai, India on his paternity leave, will ensure Kohli surpasses Lara's record of 610 runs in Adelaide.
Tendulkar has scored 1809 runs in the 20 Test matches he played for India in Australia that include six centuries.
Kohli, in comparison, has already scored 6 tons from 12 matches he has played in Australia to aggregate 1274 runs. Another ton in Adelaide means Kohli will have obliterated another of Tendulkar's record.
The development around Kohli as a batsman and how well Bumrah bowls are among the top excitements for Indian cricket fans to wait and watch.
However, you won't find a suitable answer from the Indian think tank on the inclusion of and out of form Prithvi Shaw.
Team India knows well that Australia have won all the eight Pink Ball Test matches they have played till date. You would have expected either Shubman Gill or KL Rahul to partner Mayank Agarwal to open India's challenge.
"Prithvi has performed at the Test level but he'll be playing in Australia for the first time. It's exciting to see his progress as well," Kohli said.
This approach by the India skipper and coach Ravi Shastri defies the chorus, including that of legendary Allan Border and Sunil Gavaskar after whom this Test series is named.
Both, Border and Gavaskar are impressed by the way Gill batted in the tour games. They preferred him over Shaw.
Both legends discovered glaring weakness in Shaw's batting. They found Gill solid in technique.
However, according to Kohli: "Shubman hasn't got opportunities at this level yet in Test cricket. As and when he gets the opportunity, it would be interesting to see how he goes about things because he's a very, very confident young man."
You would have expected the captain to see logic and pick the batsman he sees is very confident over a player who has played little cricket at the Test level and is in poor form.
India are already missing Rohit Sharma and pacer Ishant Sharma, who has been replaced by Umesh Yadav.
A better understanding of Kohli and Shastri's mindset was on display in Kohli's response during the press conference: "You can tell them [younger players] to enjoy their skill sets and make sure when they have the opportunity to capitalize as much as possible for the team. And let the senior guys take more responsibility and load and pressure of what comes with playing a Test match and a full Test series."
It would probably be different when Ajinkya Rahane takes over the captaincy for the remainder of the Test series. However, for now every senior in the team will have to fulfill the responsibility, load and pressure that Kohli wants.
India start with 11: Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddiman Saha, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.
Australia start with 11: Joe Burns, Matthew Wade, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Tim Paine(w/c), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.