x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

India's Virat Kohli not sure Dharamsala Test with England will happen

Virat Kohli is imploring his India teammates to get the job done in the fourth ODI against England because there is a strong possibility the fifth ODI may not happen due to weather.

India's Virat Kohli is doubtful the fifth ODI against England will take place at Dharamsala because of cold weather.
India's Virat Kohli is doubtful the fifth ODI against England will take place at Dharamsala because of cold weather.

India's Virat Kohli has cast doubt over whether the fifth one-day international, in Dharamsala against England, scheduled to be contested on Sunday, will take place.

The Himalayan hill station, which sits almost 1,500 metres above sea level, has never before hosted an international match but was approved to do so despite being deep in the winter season.

This month has already seen significant snowfall in Dharamsala.

Weather forecasts suggest the match could be due to start in temperatures at, or just below, freezing point.

Runway restrictions at the nearby airport in Gaggal mean some support staff and kit bags from each team will have to travel by road, which could also prove challenging.

Yet rumours the fixture would be reallocated have come to nothing, and the England and Wales Cricket Board have not been told to make any contingencies despite the weather.

Kohli concedes the Indian players are not convinced a match will be possible.

As such, he has told his side, who are 2-1 up, to clinch the series in the fourth game at Mohali on Wednesday and not rely on a possible decider in Dharamsala.

"It's not certain we are going to have a game in Dharamsala," he said.

"We are all aware [of the weather problems] so this game becomes all the more important.

"It makes the game really, really important.

"We have to step up [today].

"We will treat the game like it is the last in the series, we have to. But when you lose the first game in a series, that is how you go into every game."

India look likely to field a settled side after back-to-back victories with the same XI.

Only Ajinkya Rahane is in serious danger of losing his place as opener, with Cheteshwar Pujara waiting in the wings.

But Rahane was man of the match when India defeated England at the same venue in 2011, scoring a career-best 91, and could be given another chance.

England are expected to make at least one important change for today's match.

Back-to-back losses have focused attention on the wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter, who is struggling with the bat.

Thay may lead to his Somerset teammate Jos Buttler, who is on hand, to make his first ODI appearance with the gloves.

Kieswetter has been first-choice behind the stumps since the end of the 2011 World Cup but a duck last time out in Ranchi as England fell to a seven-wicket loss seems to have been the final straw.

James Tredwell, the off-spinner, is confident Buttler will do fine behind the stumps.

"Jos is a talented boy," he said. "I've not seen a lot of him keeping but I've seen him with the bat.

"I imagine if he's got anywhere near the talent with the gloves that he does with the bat he'll be fine."

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