Kohli hails importance of Shami


Virat Kohli has praised the performances of Mohammed Shami following his return to fitness as India seek a Test series whitewash over New Zealand.

India lead the three-match series 2-0 after a pair of emphatic victories, with Shami playing a key role for the hosts.

The seamer took six wickets in the second Test in Kolkata having claimed two in the opening game in Kanpur, continuing his strong form since returning in July from a knee injury that had kept him out of the Test side since January 2015.

Shami now has 19 Test wickets to his name since his comeback, but has been rested for the first three games of the upcoming one day international series with the Black Caps.

And captain Kohli, speaking ahead of the third Test in Indore, which starts on Saturday, said: "It's very important to manage workload, especially for your fast bowlers.

"For the one-day matches, they've been given rest because it's a long Test season and we need the bowlers fresh. At the same time, it's an opportunity for the others to prove themselves. 

"Shami is someone who's come back very well, he's worked very hard on his fitness as well. You can see he's able to bowl those five-six over spells now and he can run in... bigger momentum and then he can pick up two wickets on any surface.

"That's the kind of skill he has, so as captain, I feel that he's a very important bowler for us in this full season and in future, as well. But looking at the near future, his fitness and rhythm is very, very important.

"As you said, he's a strike bowler and whenever he comes in, he makes something regardless of the surface that we're playing on."

Kohli also confirmed Gautam Gambhir will come in for Shikhar Dhawan, who misses out because of a thumb injury.

He added: "That's the natural change because of Shikhar Dhawan's injury. That is a natural replacement in the team because he is the third opener."