Centurion: India captain Virat Kohli today took a dig at critics questioning Ajinkya Rahane’s exclusion in the first Test against South Africa, stating that those who wanted his deputy’s omission are now clamouring for his comeback.

“It’s funny how things change in a matter of weeks, or just about five days. Before the first Test no-one thought that he should be in the eleven and now suddenly people are looking at the other option,” Kohli said on the eve of the second Test, here.

In fact, given his stupendous overseas record, it came as quite a shocker when his name was missing from the final XI for the first Test which India lost by 72 runs in three playing days in Cape Town.

“For us as a team, it’s all about finding the right balance. If players fit in in the kind of balance we want to go in with as a side, then they will fit in. We certainly don’t go on opinions that are created outside, and talk of the town and all those sort of things,” Kohli’s sarcasm at the pre-match conference was not lost on anyone.

“He (Rahane) is a quality player. He has done well in South Africa, in all conditions actually away from home. He is probably been our most consistent and solid player away from home,” the skipper said.

He repeated that Rohit Sharma was selected because of his current form.

“I explained the reasons why Rohit Sharma started ahead of him. I am not saying that Ajinkya cannot or will not start in this game. Possibilities are all open at the moment and we shall decide after practice.”

While the skipper dropped hints that there might be changes in the playing XI without divulging any further.

“As far as the opening combination goes, we will decide today at the end of practice what is it that we are going to go within this game. We might do something different also but there is definitely no need to panic.”

The wicket promises ample pace and bounce, but doesn’t have as much green grass unlike the Newlands’ wicket, reckons Kohli.

The skipper feels that despite the mistakes committed, his batting unit is in much better shape for this game.

Kohli, who is India’s best batsman feels that there is no need to press the panic button yet.

“I don’t think we need to panic because of collapses. Whether we are playing five batsmen or six, you still need to apply yourself.

“It doesn’t mean that if you are playing six batters, you can afford to go out and play loose shots. You still need to have a solid technique and go out there and be ready to face spells, which are going to be difficult. We need to embrace that,” explained Kohli.

India’s slip catching has been shoddy even during their victories at home over the past year but the skipper defended his teammates.

PTI