India captain Virat Kohli was seen having some discomfort with his back during the third Test against Australia in Melbourne, and those pictures raised fears about his ability to carry on for the rest of the series. But Kohli brushed those concerns aside, stressing that ‘niggles’ were a part of the game.
He said he’d been having those sort of issues since 2011, adding that it just had to be managed through fitness routines, which Kohli is widely known for adhering to.
“I’ve had this issue since 2011, it’s nothing new,” he said in Sydney ahead of the fourth and final Test against Australia.
“I’ve been able to manage it because of the physical effort I’ve put in over the past few years. And when you have a back that has these issues you can only maintain it that way.
“I’m not too concerned with it, you just have to manage it physically and stay ahead of the injury and I have been able to do it for now.
“I’m sure I’ll find other ways and more options to keep countering that. I mean, it’s impossible to keep going without niggles and I think it’s fine to have a few niggles here and there. You just need to be able to manage it.”
Ishant Sharma has been left out of the Sydney Test, while Ravichandran Ashwin is still under an injury cloud.
Here's the 13-man squad: https://t.co/kfc9EUdWDA
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 2, 2019
India will be delighted that Kohli is fully fit for the Sydney Test, where they could create history with a win or even just a draw. How much does that context matter to the players? Not much, as it turns out.
When asked whether they were thinking in those terms, Kohli said: “If you ask me very honestly, no… We need to stay in the present and focus on the things that we can do. We need to figure what the controllables are and focus on them.
“The motivation has never been to change history. It’s only been to overcome the challenges in front of you, and as a sportsman and as a cricketer, you can ask anyone. That’s the most important thing.”
Yet Kohli feels a series win would still rate among his top achievements as a captain for other reasons. “It would definitely be a big, big series win, not just for me but for the whole team,” he said.
“This particular venue is when MS gave up captaincy and we had a totally young side starting at No.6 or 7 in the world, and we come back here as the No.1 Test side in the world and we want to take that legacy forward.”