Give Rohit Sharma a break, let him enjoy his batting: Virat Kohli
- "Let him (Rohit) enjoy his batting at the top of the order. Let him just have fun like he does in white ball cricket," Kohli said.
- Kohli added that Rohit's tempo allowed the bowlers more overs to bowl out the South African batsmen.
- Kohli feels that Shami has the skills to change the complexion of the game.
On Wednesday, at the press conference here, the Indian skipper defended the opener when a question popped up over Rohit's place in the team. "Come on! Give the guy a break now," exclaimed Kohli in favour of Rohit who scored centuries in both innings of the first Test in his first outing as a Test opener.
"He's done well. Let him enjoy his batting at the top of the order. Let him just have fun like he does in white ball cricket. Stop focussing on what Rohit is going to do. He's in a great space, he's playing well."
The skipper added that Rohit's tempo allowed the bowlers more overs to bowl out the South African batsmen. "The way he's able to control the tempo of the game allows the bowlers an extra hour or two hours to bowl the opposition out."
While Rohit was impressive in batting, Mohd. Shami played a key role in knocking out the Proteas in the second innings with his five-for. Kohli feels that the Kolkata pacer has the skills to change the complexion of the game. "On the pitches that we play, I don't see anyone with so much seam movement apart from him. I think on flat pitches he has the ability to pick you wickets in situations and that's why he such an important bowler for us," said Kohli.
"Now he's taking the responsibility, we don't need to push Shami anymore. We don't need to tell him 'Come on you need to bowl this spell for us.' He wants the ball, he understands the situation when he's given the ball, especially in the second innings when the situation is difficult."
Shami was backed by spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who combined to take 14 South African wickets. With this duo having an impact, Kuldeep Yadav has been left out despite picking five wickets in the last Test he featured in against Australia in Sydney.
"No one is self-centered and everyone is thinking about what he can do for the team. Fast bowlers are happy to contribute, happy to run in and bowl their hearts out. Same about Kuldeep. He understands that in India, Ashwin and Jadeja will be our first choice because they give us so much more with the bat as well. It is about finding the best balance for the team and it's purely combination based," explained Kohli.