Indian captain Virat Kohli is at the receiving end of critics for his decision to bat first in the ongoing third Test against England at Headingley in Leeds. Despite having four pacers in the playing XI, Kohli, who won his first toss as captain on England soil on Wednesday, took everyone by surprise with his decision.
The choice of batting first went horribly wrong for the visitors as they were bowled out on Day 1 of the match for a mere 78 runs in 40.4 overs. Opener Rohit Sharma, with 19 from 105 deliveries, was their top scorer.
Interestingly, when England came to bat, Indian bowlers looked completely out of touch as they failed to pick even one wicket. Rory Burns (52) and Haseeb Hameed (60) remained unbeaten and took the team’s total to 120/0 at stumps.
Amid all the criticism to bat first, Indian wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant came to defend his captain and backed Kohli’s decision. Speaking at the presser after the end of the day’s play, Pant said: “Whatever decision we take, we take as a team.”
The Roorkee-lad admitted they could’ve done better but that doesn’t force them to overthink the decision taken at the toss.
“So once we have decided we are going to bat first, we are going to back our decision. Yes, we could have applied much better, but we can’t keep on thinking too much about the toss,” explained Pant.
The 23-year-old reckoned the batting unit gives its best every day, but there are occasions when nothing clicks right. Pant observed that these are part and parcel of the game, and the team can only learn from it and move on.
“It’s part and parcel of the game. Every day the batting unit is giving its 100%, but sometimes it doesn’t go well. In the morning, the wicket was slightly on the softer side, and they bowled in good areas. We could have applied ourselves better. We can learn from it and only move on. That’s all we can do as cricketers. You learn from your mistakes and improve,” Pant added further.