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Sports

India sweat on Kohli fitness for Australia showdown

media India skipper Virat Kohli (left) insists he will only participate in the fourth Test against Australia if he is fit. Reuters/Adnan Abidi

India skipper Virat Kohli vowed on Friday not to jeopardise his side's chances of winning the four Test series against Australia by playing with an injury. Kohli, 28, hurt his shoulder during the drawn third Test in Ranchi.

 

The star batsman said he would take a series of fitness tests before deciding whether he is in good enough shape to take the field for the five day match which starts on 25 March in Dharamsala.

"Obviously if I am 100 percent fit for the game that is the only condition on which I will take the field. I don't know the magnitude of the risk of playing with an injury. All I know is the fitness tests and if I get through them I will take the field."

Kohli has had a disappointing series against Australia, managing just 46 runs in the first three Tests of a series between the world's top two sides which is poised at 1-1 as it reaches its climax. A final decision will be made on Friday night or on the morning of the Test.

Australia captain Steve Smith said India would still be a tough prospect even if Kohli were to miss the game.

Smith said Ajinkya Rahane had proved his credentials as a stand-in during the third Test. "Rahane is probably a bit more chilled out on the field, probably not as emotional but I think he understands the game really well," said Smith. "I have been fortunate enough to play a fair bit of cricket with Ajinkya and I think he reads and understands the game really well."

Smith and Kohli have been at loggerheads since the Indian skipper accused his opposite number of systematically abusing the Decision Review System (DRS) during the second Test in Bangalore.

However Smith played down the spat with Kohli, preferring, he says, to concentrate on hunting down Australia's first Test series win in India in 13 years. "It's an exciting time for this team," Smith added. "For me it's not about worrying about the end or the result. It's about focusing on our process and making sure we do those really well.

"If we can do it again and do it for a little bit longer than we did it in Ranchi or Bangalore, then hopefully the result will take care of itself."

 

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