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‘England fans will be thankful that Virat Kohli is not playing’: James Anderson before 5th Test

James Anderson, who has had memorable duels with Virat Kohli in the past, said England fans would be thankful that he was not a part of the series.

England legend James Anderson said “it’s a shame” that he didn’t get the opportunity to bowl at Virat Kohli during the five-match Test series against India. Kohli withdrew from the entire series for the birth of his second child. On February 15, Kohli and his Bollywood actor wife, Anushka Sharma were blessed with a baby boy. The couple already have a girl, Vamika.

The battles between Anderson and Kohli are among the highlights of a Test series between India and England(Reuters)

Anderson, who has had memorable duels with Kohli in the past, said England fans would be thankful that Kohli was not a part of the series. “Yeah, you always want to play against the best players. And it’s been a shame that he’s not been a part of the series. We have had some great battles over the years. But not just for me, I think as a team you want to play against the best in the world and he certainly is that.

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“I guess English fans will be thankful he’s not playing because he’s such a quality player. But from our point of view you want to test yourself, you want to come up against the best and he’s been someone who I’ve found really challenging to bowl at over the years and it’s a shame he’s not been playing,” he said on Jio Cinema.

Anderson gave Kohli a torrid time during India’s tour of England in 2014. Kohli didn’t score a single half-century in five Tests and averaged a mere 13.50. The former India captain, however, made a strong comeback when India toured England the next time four years later. The prolific right-hander ended up as the top run-gettter with 593 runs in five Tests at an average of 59.30.

There have been some tough battles between Kohli and Anderson even in India and fans were expecting the same even this time around but it wasn’t to be.

In Kohli’s absence, the Indian batting order has been led by young Yashasvi Jaiswal, who has got support from captain Rohit Sharma, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, and keeper Dhruv Jurel. After losing the first Test in Hyderabad, India made a strong comeback by winning the next three on the bounce to take the series.

James Anderson showers praise on Jasprit Bumrah

Anderson believes India’s bowlers led by Jasprit Bumrah deserve as much credit as the batters for their series win.

“With someone of his quality, you expect that standard from him. You know that reverse swing can play a big part in India and he’s a great exponent of it. He’s got good pace and is very accurate, very consistent. That yorker we saw to Ollie Pope, he’s got that up his sleeve as well. It’s not a fluke that he’s got to number one in the world. He’s a world-class bowler and from our point of view we weren’t surprised that he put up a performance like that,” Anderson said about Bumrah, who picked up 9 wickets in the third Test in Rajkot to help India win.

Anderson spoke highly of India’s pace attack. “There are not many better bowlers than Bumrah, Shami and Siraj. They’re world-class bowlers. You put Ishant Sharma in there as well, and that’s a really strong bowling attack. For me, Zaheer Khan was someone I used to watch a lot to try and learn from. How he used the reverse swing, how he covered the ball when he ran into bowl, that’s something I tried to sort of develop on the back of playing against him quite a few times here.”

Anderson will be seen in action in the fifth and final Test in Dharamsala starting on March 7.


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