Dharamsala - Injured Indian skipper Virat Kohli said on Friday he would
play the fourth Test against Australia only if he was 100 percent fit, keeping
up the suspense over his participation in the series decider.
Kohli, who injured his shoulder during the drawn third Test
in Ranchi, said he would undergo fitness tests before taking a final call on
whether to take the field in the fourth and final Test which begins on Saturday.
"Obviously if I am 100 percent fit for the game (that)
is the only condition on which I will take the field," Kohli, 28, said at
the pre-match press conference in Dharamsala.
"The physio can explain better (the risks of playing
despite carrying an injury). I don't know the magnitude of the risk but all I
know is the fitness tests, if I go through them I will take the field."
On Thursday the Indian team management rushed in uncapped
batsman Shreyas Iyer as a cover for Kohli, who has led India to victory in nine
of their last 12 Tests at home.
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 tantalisingly poised at 1-1 as it reaches its climax.
Kohli, who batted in the nets on Friday, said the full extent
of an injury could only be known in match conditions and that he would strictly
follow the advice of the physiotherapist.
"Those are the things you need to keep in mind, the
physio wants to give it a bit more time till I test myself," said the
"And probably we will take a call on it later tonight
or tomorrow (Saturday) so I think we will have to give that much time more for
me to make that call with the physiotherapist."
Rival captain Steve Smith said India would still be in very
good hands if Kohli was forced out of action, with Ajinkya Rahane having proved
his credentials as a stand-in during the Ranchi Test.
Kohli was off the field during most of Australia's first
innings in Ranchi but he did come out to bat at his usual number four position
and took the field during Australia's second innings.
"He (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
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.
Kohli, who has been compared in the Australian press to US
President Donald Trump, has especially come under scrutiny both over his form
and his conduct under pressure.
Smith however sought to put the controversies on the back
burner, saying the team was focused on playing good cricket over the next five
"As I said, it's an exciting time for this team. For me
it's not about worrying about the end or the result," said Smith, as
Australia chase their first Test series win in India in 13 years.
"It's about focusing on our process and making sure we
do those really well. If we can do 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
Australia only need to avoid defeat in Dharamsala to retain
the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
Whatever the result, India will retain their number one
ranking at the end of a season which has seen them host a record 13 Test
matches against four different visiting teams.