Says Afghanistan Test wrongly scheduled, focus should be on England
Dilip Vengsarkar has backed India captain Virat Kohli’s decision to bypass the inaugural one-off Test against Afghanistan in June in order to play county cricket for Surrey ahead of India’s long tour of England.
A former chairman of the national selection committee and one who fast-tracked Kolhi’s international debut, Vengsarkar played 13 Tests in England, scored 960 runs at 48.00 and with four centuries (three at Lord’s) and as many half centuries.
Kohli’s Test scores in England in 2014 are a dismal looking 1 and 8 (Trent Bridge), 25 and 0 (Lord’s), 39 and 28 (Rose Bowl), 0 and 7 (Old Trafford) and 6 and 20 (The Oval). He fell to seamers Stuart Broad (twice), Jimmy Anderson (four times), Chris Jordon (twice), Liam Plunkett and Moeen Ali (once each).
When asked about Kohli’s Surrey strategy, Vengsarkar said, “It is a good decision because he will get time to acclimatise to the conditions. If I were a selector, I would have asked [Cheteshwar] Pujara to stay back and play county cricket [for Yorkshire], because he is one of the guys who will play in England.
“Playing against Afghanistan makes no sense; it defies logic to me. He has not been consistent so far in county cricket and he should get more chances, score runs and get into the groove before the Test series.”
On whether the Test openers should also being given time to acclimatise, Vengsarkar said, “To be honest, the Afghanistan Test has been wrongly scheduled. That’s what I feel. The focus should have been on the tour of England.”
Vengsarkar, though, is pleased with the itinerary scheduled in England. “Compared to previous tours, this is a good itinerary because India has got enough games to play before the first Test. The full team will get sufficient time to get acclimatised. In South Africa, the team hardly got a match before the first Test.”
Vengsarkar also touched upon playing a wrist spinner in Tests because the England batsmen are not good facing leg-spin and that Dinesh Karthik is a fantastic player to have in the side. “DK is another good player, I am huge fan of DK.”