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Sunil Gavaskar feels Kohli should risk himself in the final Test even if he is not 100% fit

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar feels Team India captain Virat Kohli should risk himself in the final Test even if he is not 100% fit given the team management feels he will be a bolster for the side in the final Test. Kohli injured his right shoulder while chasing a delivery during the opening day of the Ranchi Test and didn’t take the field for rest of the day and the majority of Day 2. Though he batted in the 1st innings and also came out to field in Australia’s 2nd innings, he has made it pretty clear ahead of the 4th Test that he will only take the field if he is fully fit.

Mumbai and Delhi Daredevils batsman Shreyas Iyer has been added to the squad as a cover for Virat Kohli. Off-field issues have marred the ongoing series with both team members and support staff taking a dig at each other with verbal volleys. It has been a keenly contested series so far and it is expected to be much of the same in the deciding encounter in Dharamsala starting in less than 12 hours time.

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“Virat personally would want to go in as 100 per cent fit because that is what he would have expected from any other player in the team. He would not want another player in the team to hide an injury and then later found out (about an injury) because it is a five-day Test,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying by NDTV

“So, Virat personally would want to be 100 per cent but if the team feels that he is a must-have for this deciding game, the team will have to convince him that, look you might be 40, 50, or whatever per cent fit, we want you.

“Even if he (Kohli) is 70 per cent fit, the team management will have to decide whether his presence is going to energise the team. If so, then Virat will have to play and you have to convince him that the team wants him even if he is 70 per cent fit,” Gavaskar further added.

Gavaskar gave the example of former Indian World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev who took the field on the final day of the Melbourne Test in 1981 despite not being fully fit. “I asked Kapil on the fourth day evening whether he can bowl just one hour on the final day. Australia was 40-odd and three wickets down and they needed to score 100-odd runs to win the Test. We needed seven wickets. Kapil bowled with pain killers and he took five wickets and the rest was history,” said Gavaskar.

“I knew his (Kapil’s) value to the team. His 70 per cent fitness was enough for the team. So, the Indian team management will have to decide on Virat’s case also,” he further added. He also added that even if Kohli misses out in the final Test, Australia won’t have an edge over the hosts.

“I would say no team has the edge, there is not much gap between the two sides. Indians will not be too disadvantaged even if Virat does not play. They have the ability to regroup and pick themselves up.

“Without Virat, it will be clearly a challenge for India and the Aussies may feel a hurdle is out of their way. But the way the Indians have responded, they will come out all guns firing in Dharamsala.” Gavaskar also expressed his desire to field Shami in the final Test if he is declared fit.

“I would like Shami to come in if he is fit and if the team management thinks that he can bowl 20 overs in a day. Despite Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav having bowled well in the series so far, they must be a bit tired,” he said.

“A fresh pair of legs in Shami can give the initial breakthroughs and that will make it easier for R Ashwin and Jadeja as well as the other pacers at the other end in the old combination of five batsmen and five bowlers,” he concluded.

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