Virat Kohli praises Joe Root ahead of England captain’s 100th Test but says ‘he’s always the wicket we want’ as India skipper returns to the side for first Test in Chennai
- Much-anticipated India vs England series gets underway in Chennai on Friday
- India captain Virat Kohli returns to team after missing most of Australia series
- Kohli praised counterpart Joe Root as he prepares to win his 100th cap
- But he warned that Root is always the most prized of English wickets
- Opener Zak Crawley has been ruled out after slipping and damaging his wrist
Virat Kohli has paid tribute to Joe Root ahead of his 100th Test and said ‘he’s always the England wicket we want to get.’
The India captain, returning for Friday’s first Test in Chennai after missing his side’s dramatic win in Australia, talked of Root’s part in the group of ‘big four’ batsmen – that also includes Kohli, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith – who stand out in international cricket.
And Kohli predicted that his opposite number has ‘many years ahead’ that should see him surpass Sir Alastair Cook’s England record tally of Test runs and may even see him challenge Sachin Tendulkar’s world record.
England captain Joe Root is poised to win his 100th cap in Friday’s first Test against India
Root was excellent during the recent Sri Lanka series and has been praised by Virat Kohli
Kohli will return to the India team having missed most of the successful series in Australia to be at the birth of his first child
‘Playing a hundred Tests is no small achievement,’ said Kohli. ‘Joe can be very proud of being on this journey and still continuing to do so. He’s got many years left in him so huge congratulations on that.
‘I have good memories of watching Joe when he came onto the international scene. He probably got off to a head-start compared to the others in that group of four and has gone on to become the face of England’s batting.
‘When we play England Joe is always the vital wicket that we look to get early. That is a compliment to his game, his longevity and consistency over so many years. He’s got a great game himself and has a great understanding of the game.
Root takes part in a catching drill as England gear up for Friday’s first Test in Chennai
Kohli, pictured with Root in 2018, said the England skipper ranked among the top batsmen
India come into the series with England off the back of a historic victory over Australia
‘We have spoken a bit more in the last couple of series we’ve played and hopefully in the future we can sit down and have a nice long chat about our journeys and playing each other over so many years.’
England ruled out Zak Crawley for the first two Tests after scans on the right wrist he damaged slipping up outside the Chennai dressing room on Tuesday revealed a sprain rather than break.
They have no plans to call up a replacement, with seven reserves already in India and Jonny Bairstow due back from the third Test onwards.
‘It’s really frustrating for Zak,’ said Root. ‘It was a freak accident as he was walking out of the changing room and really hard for him to take.’
Zak Crawley (above) slipped outside the dressing rooms of the Chepauk Stadium in Chennai