KOLKATA (Reuters) - India captain Virat Kohli admitted to being in a familiar dilemma over the team’s opening combination going into the first test against Sri Lanka beginning at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.
The right-handed duo of Murali Vijay and Lokesh Rahul have remained India’s trusted batsmen upfront but the former’s wrist injury opened an unlikely door for Shikhar Dhawan when they toured Sri Lanka earlier this year.
The Delhi left-hander responded by grabbing the opportunity with both hands, smashing two centuries to claim the man-of-the-series award as India completed a 3-0 whitewash in the test series.
A fit-again Vijay is hoping to reclaim his spot in the three-test series against Sri Lanka but Kohli confirmed the situation is not so straightforward.
“That situation has always been (like this for a while),” Kohli told reporters on Wednesday.
“The balance has swung every now and then, between two guys doing well and one of them missing out. It happened with KL (Rahul) initially, it happened with Shikhar in between.
“It’s very difficult to pick two out of three when all three are so good and have done so well.”
Rahul has scored a half-century in each of his last seven test innings but the 25-year-old has struggled with a nagging shoulder injury and was dropped from the limited-overs team against New Zealand.
In contrast, Dhawan has been in strong form across formats which makes it difficult to ignore the pugnacious 31-year-old.
“Shikhar’s comeback has been a revelation... His counter-attacking skills really gave all the batsmen a good platform to work on. It also deflates opposition to a certain extent,” Kohli said.
“They all have skill sets, different strengths but obviously the balance always shifts and one of them has to miss out. They do understand, so there’s no problem with that.”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; editing by Sudipto Ganguly