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Exclusive! Criticising Virat Kohli for not playing a spinner in Perth unjustified: Praveen Kumar

Exclusive! Criticising Virat Kohli for not playing a spinner in Perth unjustified: Praveen Kumar

New Delhi, December 19: Former India pacer Praveen Kumar feels it is easier for the critics to questions the team's decision whenever the results don't go as expected. The Uttar Pradesh cricketer who once led India's pace attack feels the ongoing Test series between India and Australia is still wide open and Virat Kohli and his band have a fair chance of winning it despite the series being levelled.

Talking to MyKhel on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi, the Praveen, who's picked up 27 wickets in six Tests he played for India, said Team India is being criticised way too much following its defeat in Perth Test against Australia.

When asked about India's decision to not play a single spinner in the Perth Test which, according to the experts, was a reason for their loss the former cricketer quipped, "See, had we won the game with all four pacers, then the media would have been all gaga about our performance. It was the team management's decision to play all four pacers and we should respect that. What would you have said, had we lost the match fielding playing a spinner? People would have been after them for not playing all four pacers on a pitch that was meant for pacers. We should not be critical of the team just with one defeat. The team has done well, and I am sure they will come back stronger in the next game.

The 32-year-old cricketer from Meerut said India fought well in the game and the match was neck-and-neck till the fourth innings.

Cape Town to Perth, a tale of lost of opportunities for Kohli & Co.

"If we look at this Test match, we were in the contest until the fourth day. We lost the match in the fourth innings but we can't entirely blame the batsmen either. The way pitch was behaving on the fourth and fifth day, it was an impossible bat for any team. Players from both teams were getting hurt. (Aaron) Finch got hurt you see. So, we shouldn't criticise the team for the defeat. They might themselves be feeling bad for it."

He exuded confidence that the series is still open and India have a chance of winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

"I am pretty confident that they will come back stronger in the next game. Our pacers are in good shape and rhythm and let me tell you that this series is still wide open. We'll bounce back, just have faith in the team. I am confident that Team can win the series from this stage as well."

When asked about why Mohammad Shami gets such a lethal bowler in the second innings he said, "Shami is an experienced cricketer and he knows how to exploit the conditions and the pitches suit his style of bowling in the second in innings. As far as his bowling at Perth Test is concerned, it was the pitch that was doing his bidding."

When asked about the aggressive nature of India captain Virat Kohli - who is under fire for being extra aggressive on the field - Praveen, who was a naturally attacking bowler himself, said, "See, that's his natural game. He's been the same since his Under-19 days and we can't blame him for that. We should back him for his style of play. Also, unless there is some aggressive exchange of words on the field, little bit of sledging on the field, Test Cricket would be boring, isn't it? It's all part and parcel of the game now."

India play Australia in the third Test at Melbourne, starting December 26.

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    Story first published: Wednesday, December 19, 2018, 19:18 [IST]
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