Indian skipper Virat Kohli surprised some people by excluding Rohit Sharma from the Test squad of the Indian team for the first Test against West Indies. Team India decided to go with Hanuma Vihari instead of Sharma.
After the match got over, Virat Kohli mentioned that they picked Vihari because of the combination as he can be an effective part-time bowler. According to him, Team India had a group discussion to decide on the best playing eleven.
"Vihari got a nod because the combination is important. He's an effective part-time bowler and helps us when we need to catch up with the over-rate. We have a group discussion and then we decide what's best for the team. There will always be opinions about the XI, but people will know that it's in the interest of the team," Kohli said.
Vihari actually performed really well for the team in the Test as he scored a match-winning 93 runs and partnered with Ajinkya Rahane to build a 135-run partnership which helped India set a target of 419 runs for the Caribbean team to chase.
But the question arises, why was Rohit Sharma not selected? Team India could have actually given him an opportunity in the Caribbean as after this it will much more difficult for the right-handed batsman to get a chance against South Africa considering the Proteas have a much better team.
Many former cricketers like Sourav Ganguly and Shoaib Akthar wanted Rohit Sharma to feature in the Test squad due to his brilliant performance in the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
The two formats may be different but Sharma could have been given a chance. He even scored 68 runs against the West Indies A before the start of the Test series. But he was not considered in the playing eleven much to the surprise of cricket fans.
Is exclusion of Sharma because of rift with Kohli?
The Indian skipper and the 32-year-old opener have been in the news in recent past for reasons other than cricket. There were speculations that there is a rift between the two experienced campaigners.
The rumours of the rift started making rounds after India's exit from the World Cup. They said that there are two groups in the Indian team, one on the side of Kohli and the other showing their allegiance towards Rohit Sharma. Kohli had rubbished all the rumours before going for the West Indies tour stating that everything is fine.
But the activities of both the players on social media indicated something else. So, there is a probable chance that if there is a rift then it may have affected the selection of Sharma in the Test team as Kohli and Shastri take the final decision.
But the point Kohli made was also logical that Vihari can contribute with the ball which can be more effective for Team India and moreover India got the desired results. Time will tell what is going on in the dressing room of the Men in Blue.