Would play half-fit Virat Kohli in 3rd Test, unless he can’t bend or walk: Gavaskar

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London: Team India are still licking their wounds after Virat Kohli suffered his worst defeat as Test captain with England winning by an innings and 159 runs. However, the beleaguered visitors received a massive boost on Tuesday with Jasprit Bumrah being made available for the third Test in Nottingham starting on Saturday.

While Ravichandran Ashwin and Hardik Pandya were also deemed fit after suffering injury blows to their bowling hand while batting, there are still doubts lingering if skipper Kohli could be fit in time. But the flamboyant right-hander who has been nursing a back injury and assured his participation at Trent Bridge should make it to the field even if he is half fit, according to Sunil Gavaskar.

"Virat Kohli has to assess his injury himself.. whether to take the risk or not.. But if I were the captain, I would want Kohli to play even if he's 50 per cent fit. He's such a crucial element. He has to play unless he can't bend or walk. At the end of the day he has to decide how much pain he can bear. For me Virat has to play," the former India captain was quoted as saying by India Today.

With questions being raised over the team’s preparation after a meek display, Gavaskar said that Kohli and co should be sweating it out in the net sessions.

"I can understand they have taken the day off today.. they are still licking the wounds of the defeat at Lord's but they should have been planning to leave for Nottingham after today which would have been the last day of the Lord's Test and practice from tomorrow. But clearly as we have seen from the start of the ODI series, they are in love with London. You cannot get practice facilities in London as easily as you would in Nottingham — I hope they practice from Tuesday. And there should be no optional practice. Everybody needs to get down to practice There's no such thing as optional practice when you are 0-2 down," he added.

Many from the cricket fraternity slammed the Team India think tank for the unfavourable selection at Lord’s which miserably backfired. Gavaskar now wants the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to involve MSK Prasad, the selection committee chief to be a part of the tour selection.

"I know there are some selectors (Sarandeep Singh and Devang Gandhi) in England but BCCI should send the Chairman of selectors. The team management and chief selector should together pick the playing eleven. This will ease the pressure on that front from Virat. Because don't forget your playing eleven choices for the next Test in Nottingham will be critical to keep the series alive else we will have to forget about it," the 69-year-old broadcaster continued.

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