Kohli clarifies decision on keeping Ashwin, Jadeja out

Mumbai, Oct 21 (IANS) India captain Virat Kohli on Saturday explained the reasons behind the decision to ‘rest’ top spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the limited overs squads, saying it’s important to understand their workload and also create a stronger pool to choose from.

Off-spinner Ashwini and left-armer Jadeja have not been named in the Sri Lanka away tour, home rubber against Australia and the series against New Zealand which starts on Sunday.

Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and left-arm spinner Axar Patel are currently given chances.

“We are giving chances to guys who we think have the ability to perform at this level. It is something we need to experiment with, to find our best bowling combination before we can reach the World Cup stage,” Kohli told reporters.

“It’s a combination of both — giving guys chances as well as understanding the workload of bowlers who have played a for a while. Ashwin and Jadeja have played for the last six, seven years limited-overs cricket for us regularly. Also we don’t want the bowlers to be over-exposed, especially those playing (all) formats, which can hamper their rhythm in the most important for us in the Test cricket,” the captain added.

“These youngsters have stepped up. It creates a strong pool for us before the World Cup and contrary to what being said (outside), we understand the dynamics of the team getting forward.”

Recently, South Africa have replaced India at the top of the ODI rankings. But Kohli stressed the importance of pleying good cricket, instead of focusing on rankings.

“We don’t think of rankings. Points are tied. We had a rest period, South Africa are playing games in that period, so you can’t really pinpoint some things, you can’t be frustrated sitting at home that your ranking is gone and stuff like that,” said Kohli.

“We just want to play good cricket, we’ve been playing good cricket and that continues to be our main goal. We are really happy with what we are doing as a team at the moment. These things will go up and down because not all teams play together,” he added.

“As I said, even for batsmen you play at different stages, someone goes up in points someone doesn’t. It doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, you have to contribute towards the team’s win. Rankings, ratings all these things are definitely incentives of doing well, but that’s not the ultimate goal.” he added.

Kohli also clarified that the team management felt the need of an extra middle-order batsman, paving the way for an entry for Dinesh Karthik as opener Lokesh Rahul was excluded.

“We look to give chances to players who have the ability to perform at this level. At the same time, we have to strike a right balance between youth and experience.

“DK (Karthik) has come in for KL (Rahul), because we didn’t want a situation that happened with Jinx (Rahane), who was forced to bat in the middle-order. Rahul has usually opened for the state team while Karthik bats regularly in the middle-order.” Kohli reasoned.

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