Kohli needs no reassurance says Rohit Sharma

Skipper Rohit throws his weight behind out-of-form batter; Buttler echoes views
Kohli needs no reassurance says Rohit Sharma

MUMBAI: India skipper Rohit Sharma once again came to the defence of Virat Kohli after the latter was dismissed for just 16 runs in the second ODI against England to extend his prolonged lean patch.

At the post-match press conference following the India’s 100-run drubbing to England here on Thursday, Rohit looked agitated as he interrupted a scribe even before the journalist could complete his question on Kohli’s poor run of form. “He has played so many matches, over such a long period of time. He is such a great batter, so he does not need reassurance.”

If Rohit’s support was not enough, his English counterpart Jos Buttler too backed Kohli to regain his touch. Making a comeback after sitting out the first ODI because of a groin strain, Kohli was dismissed after striking three fours.

“For someone who has won so many matches for India, you need one or two innings to bounce back. That is what I feel and I am sure all those who follow cricket will think similarly. I know there have been discussions going on [about Kohli’s form] but we have to understand that players go through ups and downs while quality never goes away. We have to keep that in mind,” Rohit went on to add in the presser.

Echoing Rohit’s views, Buttler said: “I suppose in a little way it is quite refreshing for the rest of us that he (Kohli) is human and he can have a couple of low scores as well. But look, he has been one of the best players, if not the best player in ODI cricket in the world.”

Opting to field, the Rohit-led team had England tottering at 148 for six only to let the host recover to 246. The total proved more than enough as India suffered a top-order collapse before being bundled out for just 146 in 38.5 overs.

“This is also a challenge for us. Whenever we lose five or six early wickets, we have to learn how our lower-order can make runs,” he said. “For quite a long time, this is ailing the team. We need to focus a bit more on this, on how to bring more balance to it and improve our batting.”

‘Tri-series or quadrangular series the way forward’

On the relevance of bilateral series with the international calendar heavily crammed, Rohit said that tri-nation or quadrangular tournaments could be the way forward.

“I do think it (bilateral series) is important, but it can be managed in a better way for sure. The scheduling has to be done with some space as well. You have to play bilateral series. There was a time, when we were kids and I grew up, I watched a lot of tri-series or quadrangular series, but that has completely stopped.”

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