Virat Kohli gives his bowlers freedom to decide on spell lengths: Mohammed Shami

Virat Kohli gives his bowlers freedom to decide on spell lengths: Mohammed Shami

Shami also praised the efforts of Ashwin and Jadeja.

Virat Kohli of India (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

An all-round performance saw India thrash South Africa by 203 runs in the first Test of the three-match series in Visakhapatnam on Sunday, the fifth day of the game. Needing 395 runs to win the game, the Proteas could not survive the final day and were all out for 191, thanks to the bowlers’ excellent show. While pacer Mohammed Shami picked a fifer, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja took four. Ravichandran Ashwin took eight wickets in the game to become the joint-fastest bowler to take 350 scalps in the longer format, along with another off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.

Shami, who broke the back of SA’s batting with his 5 for 35, said after the game that India captain Virat Kohli gives his bowlers the freedom to decide on the length of their spells. The pacer, who went wicketless in the first innings, picked his five scalps quite fast in the second innings – in just 10.5 overs. It was his fifth fifer in red-ball cricket.

“Virat Kohli as a captain always hears us out and gives us the freedom to follow our strategy during the match. He has given us the freedom to take a call on whether we want to bowl 5 overs or 7 overs or more he says, ‘if you have the power, go ahead and bowl’. That’s when we take a call that we will bowl three overs but with full power… That’s the understanding we have. He trusts us, and we trust him,” the pacer, who turned 29 last month, said during an interview with the broadcasters after the match.

Shami also praised the efforts of Ashwin and Jadeja – the spinning duo who came together in a Test match after a long time and delivered by claiming 14 wickets between them.

Shami praises Ashwin and Jadeja

“Ashwin has a lot of Test cricket experience and he bowled very well in both the first and second innings. When you have great bowlers like Ashwin and Jadeja in the team, the fast bowlers can breathe easy and relax, knowing that they are there,” Shami, who had an added responsibility in the match after Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out, said.

The second Test will start in Pune on October 10. India bagged 40 points as a result of the Visakhapatnam win and took their tally of points in the ICC World Championship to 160. The second-placed sides, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, have only 60 points each.

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