At Lord’s, even with the likes of Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma in the playing XI, Siraj was the standout pacer with eight wickets. He is now the second leading wicket-taker in the series, with 11 scalps. Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Kohli said about Siraj:
"I was not surprised at all (with his growth) because I have seen him from close quarters. He is a guy who has always had the skill. You need the confidence to back that skill, the Australia series provided him with that boost and confidence. He is walking around knowing he can get anyone out at any stage and the belief in his game has been elevated to another level, hence you see results of what he is doing."
Kohli added that aggression is something that makes Siraj tick and is very much a part of his personality. The Indian captain added, "I am really happy to see him coming into his own, he is going to be this kind of bowler, who is in your face and who is looking to get guys out and who is not scared, he is not going to take a backward step."
During the press conference, Kohli also hailed the Indian openers, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, who have given the team excellent starts in both the Test matches so far. The Indian skipper said in praise of the duo, "The opening combination, when you are playing overseas, is one of the most important factors. So, the way KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma have played, has been outstanding and we hope that they continue in the same manner. To set out the right platform from where the team can build on and that is what they provided us in both the Tests so that is definitely a big boost for us.”
Kohli further backed under-fire opposition skipper Joe Root, who has been severely criticised for the short-ball tactics against Indian tailenders at Lord’s, which backfired on the hosts. Kohli said, "I don't know what an individual mindset is. You can make mistakes and plan at any given stage of the match, it does not necessarily mean you are under pressure.”
“You just take a decision, which in hindsight was not correct. As captain, you always try to make the right decision and I am sure he was trying to do the same...if it's not right you take it on the chin and move ahead as he did," he added.
--By A Cricket Correspondent