Cape Town: India captain Virat Kohli said on Monday that he will return to the team for the series-defining third test against South Africa here, as he is “absolutely fit”, but has ruled out pacer Mohammed Siraj’s participation.
Kohli, who missed the second Test because of an upper back spasm, had nets with the rest of the team at Newlands on Sunday. He struck without any visible discomfort and jumped forward to play the drives.
“I’m absolutely fit,” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference.
However, he added that Siraj will not appear in the match after suffering a hamstring injury in Johannesburg, where India lost by seven wickets.
“Siraj is clearly recovering from the problem (hamstring) he had in the last game and at the moment I don’t think he is match ready to take the field in the third test.
“Obviously you can’t risk a man who isn’t at 110 percent as a fast bowler and we know how important that is as the little problem he had can turn into an injury,” said the skipper.
“Siraj is not on target,” he added.
However, the skipper did not say whether Ishant Sharma will get the nod for Umesh Yadav.
“Like I said, we still have to sit down, myself, the head coach and the vice-captain to decide what we want to do about substitutions,” he said.
“And I’m saying that because of our strength on the bench and it’s hard for us to figure it out, since everybody’s bowling well and hitting well, these things become a point of contention and we need to have a healthy discussion about a decision on that and just that. everyone feels balanced (okay) about it,” he explained.
“But I’m happy to be here in this position and trying to decide who’s going to play instead of having other options.”
Team India will try to bounce back in the third and final test of the series, which begins here on Tuesday.
India started the South Africa tour on a perfect note, crushing the hosts with 113 runs in the series opener at Centurion.
However, the Proteas won the second game and left the three-game level at 1-1.
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