Shikhar Dhawan
India's Shikhar Dhawan in action in the first Test against South Africa in Cape Town.Reuters

A defeat leads to lot of questions. Now, India are facing the same. After their opening Test loss to South Africa by 72 runs in Cape Town, captain Virat Kohli faced two key selection issues and he has explained the logic behind both.

At Newlands stadium yesterday (January 8), Indian batsmen surrendered to Proteas fast bowling unit, led by Vernon Philander. They failed to chase down 208, crashing to 135 on the fourth day of the Test.

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Barring Hardik Pandya, all batsmen struggled on a spicy wicket, which Kohli described as "outstanding". At the start of the match, many were left surprised to see vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane benched.

Kohli justified the inclusion of Rohit Sharma for Rahane. He said the team management picked Rohit on current form. Rahane had failed in the preceding home series against Sri Lanka and hence axed, according to Kohli.

There was another selection question which was also addressed by Kohli. India went in with Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order instead of KL Rahul. Shikhar's malaise against the short ball was exposed again as he fell to the same delivery in both innings, scoring 16 each in the match.

Kohli explained that it was important to have a left-right combination at the top and hence Shikhar got the nod over Rahul.

"Well, a left-hander (Shikhar) always helps. That is what we felt. They have got two including Quinton (de Kock) (and Dean Elgar) in their batting order. It is difficult for bowlers to set up their lines and lengths everytime the strike is rotating well," the Delhi right-hander reasoned.

He added, "It has worked for us in the recent past and that is something that definitely a lot of teams go with in international cricket because you don't want to the bowlers to settle against one kind of batsman at one line and length, especially with the new ball. We have to try and create plans that we feel will not let the opposition gain momentum from very early on in the game. That is the idea behind that."

Kohli's comments suggest that Shikhar might again retain his place for the second Test of the three-match series, starting in Centurion on January 13.