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IND vs SL: Having crowds, not in our control, team focussed on winning, says Bumrah on Kohli’s 100th Test

Mohali, March 1 (IANS) India vice-captain Jasprit Bumrah on Tuesday said that the team is not thinking about the lack of crowd for the first Test against Sri Lanka because it’s not in their control and they are rather focusing on winning the series opener.

The first Test starting on March 4 here will be Virat Kohli’s 100th match in the longest format of the game. However, the match will be played without spectators and a section of fans are expressing their disappointment on social media over the issue. Notably, the Punjab Cricket Association confirmed last week that the 1st Test in Mohali will be played without spectators due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pacer admitted that the crowd does bring energy to the contest but the players can only focus on the controllable.

“See, right now we are in the frame of mind, where we are focussing on what we can control. (If) the crowds come, it is good for the energy, but that is something that we cannot control, we don’t have any power regarding that, we don’t decide the rules,” vice-captain Bumrah said in a virtual press conference.

“So, for us what we can control is our energy, so we are trying to focus on that, and that is the basic thing in everybody’s mind right now, that is how do we prepare. We are in the best frame of mind, even if crowds are not there, so how do we keep that energy up. And with that, obviously, as I said, it is a big, big day, a big match for Virat Kohli,” he added

Kohli will become the 12th Indian to play 100 Tests after Sachin Tendulkar (200), Rahul Dravid (163), VVS Laxman (134), Anil Kumble (132), Kapil Dev (131), Sunil Gavaskar (125), Dilip Vengsarkar (116), Sourav Ganguly (113), Ishant Sharma (105), Harbhajan Singh (103), and Virender Sehwag (103).

The 28-year-old Bumrah praised his former captain on the special milestone, saying that 100 Test matches is a testament to Kohli’s hard work over the years.

“It is always a special achievement for a player. You know it is a testimony to his hard work, dedication. Playing 100 Test matches for your country is a great occasion and he has contributed a lot to the success of the Indian team and will contribute a lot more in the future as well,” said Bumrah.

“It is another feather in his (Kohli’s) cap. I just wish him the best and congratulate him for the achievement,” he added.

Asked if he would like to gift Kohli something special on the occasion, the pacer said, “If the Indian team wins, then there is no best (better) present than that. But he (Kohli) as a cricketer would like to give his best.”

“Whichever match we play, whether it is his 100th Test, yes obviously, (it is) a big achievement, but India’s main focus is on the series.”

The series will also be a special moment for Rohit Sharma, who will lead India for the first time in Test cricket as he was named the replacement for Kohli, who quit from the top job in January.

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