Kohli defends decision not to play specialist spinner


India captain Virat Kohli has defended his team’s decision to play without a specialist spinner in the second Test defeat against Australia in Perth.

The touring side’s first-choice slow-bowler was unavailable due to a side strain but instead of picking the second spinner in the 13-man squad, Ravindra Jadeja, India opted to select fast bowler Umesh Yadav in an all pace attack.

What made the decision look worse was the fact that Australia’s spinner Nathan Lyon picked up eight wickets in the game to claim the man of the match award in a comprehensive 146-run victory to the hosts.

India’s skipper though said they were thinking about going with an all seam attack even if Ashwin had been fit.

Kohli, when asked if Ashwin would have played had he been fit, said: “Yes, we could have considered that (playing four pacemen).

“If you see, the rough didn’t have much assistance. It was just the pace on the ball that Lyon bowled that he got the wickets that he got.

“We as a team didn’t want to think that we definitely wanted to consider a spinning option on this pitch, especially having a look at the pitch on day one and how we thought it would play on the first three days, and exactly played out that way.

“We thought a fast bowler is going to be more productive and more helpful for us as a team.”

The four-match series is now level at 1-1 with the remaining two Tests to be played in Melbourne and Sydney.