Virat Kohli defends Rishabh Pant's selection in Test matches against NZ

CHRIST CHURCH: After losing the two-match Test series to New Zealand, India skipper Virat Kohli on Monday defended wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant's selection in the playing XI ahead of Wriddhiman Saha.

Pant was preferred over Saha in both the Test matches against the Kiwis and only managed to score 60 runs, with his highest score being 25 in the second innings of the first Test.

"We have given a lot of chances to Rishabh, you need to figure out when is the right time to give someone a chance. I don't see anyone taking their place for granted in this team, no one here has come in thinking that I am going to play every game," Kohli told reporters after the conclusion of the two-match Test series.

"Rishabh has worked very hard behind the scenes, so we thought of giving him a chance in this series. We thought he will come good in this series, but as a collective unit, we did not show a good batting performance," he added.

In the series, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara also did not do too well. However, Kohli said that one cannot blame any individual.

"Firstly, Rahane is one of those players who has been solid for us in Test cricket. It is about impact performances and he has played some crucial knocks. You also have to figure out as to how many guys average more than 40 in your team. Few games here and there if you don't score runs, doesn't mean you are a bad player. There are no issues there," Kohli said.

"In the Australia series, Pujara was the standout player. You cannot single out anyone. We have an aim of scoring big runs, it can happen with everyone scoring 50 or 60 or with one guy scoring 150 as Pujara did in Australia. In our team, we work as a collective unit," he added.

India's horrid batting performance resulted in the team's loss by seven wickets in the second Test against New Zealand on Monday here at the Hagley Oval.

With this win, New Zealand whitewashed India in the series and moved to the third spot in the World Test Championship standings with 180 points.

India is placed at the top spot with 360 points from nine matches.

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