Indian captain Virat Kohli said that he liked the competiveness shown by Sri Lanka’s wicket-keeper/batsman Niroshan Dickwella during the Sri Lanka second innings of the first Test at Kolkata which ended in a thrilling draw.
Dickwella’s time wasting tactics to deprive India of a win didn’t go down well with the Indian captain during the tense moments of the match but Kohli also being a cricketer who plays the game hard welcomed the competitive attitude displayed by Dickwella.
“I like to see that character. I liked that competitiveness on the field. He is someone who takes a lot of pride in his cricket, impressed with what I have seen so far from the last series as well. He has got great ability to do something very special for Sri Lankan cricket,” said Kohli at the pre-match press conference.
“I like to see that competitiveness on the field. In the heat of things, I will do anything for my team to win. Afterwards we had a normal chat, and on the flight as well. Those things end on the field. When you are competitive as an opponent, we always respect that about any opponent.
“He is a very feisty character and that works for his game. Credit for him for maintaining that and I am sure he will do many good things in Sri Lankan cricket,” he said.
India will be without two of their top players opener Shikhar Dhawan and fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar who was man of the match at Kolkata after nearly bowling his team to victory with a match bag of eight wickets. Both have opted out on personal grounds, but Kohli said that he was not so worried about their absence.
“We pick a squad keeping in mind all 15 are equipped with what is required to perform at international level. These kinds of scenarios where two guys miss out for personal reasons is an opportunity for the guys who get games in these situations. I am not worried at all,” said Kohli.
I am very confident of the ability of the guys who will step in and they are looking at this as an opportunity to go out and do well for the team which everyone likes to do. Obviously those two guys have made an impact in a lot of games for us.”
Apart from Kumar’s brilliant bowling performance, Dhawan led India’s batting revival after they were shot out for 172 in the first innings with a typical aggressive knock of 94 off 116 balls in the second innings. He was supported by Kohli who scored an unbeaten century to enable India declare at 352-8 and set Sri Lanka a target of 231 to chase in the fourth innings.
“As a captain of the team, my job is to assess the situation at all times. That is something I relish, I enjoy, having to do a lot of things at one time. There was an opportunity to find the right moment to actually change things around. That is something that you want to do as a cricketer. Very seldom do you get to make a difference in a Test match in a short span of time. I look forward to opportunities like that,” said Kohli commenting on his wonderful century.
Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar will replace Kumar and Murali Vijay is likely to take Dhawan’s place as opener.