Ajinkya Rahane will open for all five games, says Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli reiterated that despite coming on the back of an ICC tournament he along with his side are committed to win and give their 120 percent in every game they play.

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Photo Credits: BCCI

As India takes on West Indies in the upcoming five-match One-day series in the Carribean, Indian skipper Virat Kohli reiterated that despite coming on the back of an ICC tournament he along with his side are committed to win and give their 120 percent in every game they play. He also revealed that Ajinkya Rahane will open the innings with in-form Shikhar Dhawan.

Addressing the media in a press conference, Kohli said, “It’s a lovely atmosphere to be a part of in the West Indies. It is great to be in such a relaxing place. The way the culture is here it’s always good to come back and we are looking forward to some good cricket in West Indies.”

On the team composition and any changes for the 2019 WC?

The core is going to remain mostly the same because for a tournament like the World Cup you have to identify 15 players and 10 more who are strong contenders and from those 25 you look at different players at different stages & who is best at handling pressure situations. Looking ahead there are a lot of exciting prospects that are available in India right now- who have done well in a comparative scenario like the IPL or domestic circuit as well. In next 2 years, there will be more opportunities for everyone to showcase their talent and yes come to 2019 World Cup we will have the best 15 available to go that World Cup.

On the current crop of players 

Right now the team has covered itself in all bases and is doing really well. We have a lot of confidence and belief in ourselves as a group and I see that continuing for the next 2 years. Stressing on the importance of preparation, Kohli further stated, “It’s very important for players individually to take responsibility for the way they prepare and take ownership of what happens in the team. We have tried to create this for the past 3 to 4 years and that has continued and that is the biggest strength of the team.

What I mean is that certain specific roles are given to the lower order and the middle order – so they keep repeating those roles and that is where consistency comes from and as a player, you have to buy into that culture. If some improvisation is needed then we address those things but apart from that to maintain consistency you have to maintain a consistent performance.

On the opening partnership 

We have Ajinkya Rahane who will be starting for sure with Shikhar Dhawan. We see him more powerful in the opening slot. During the course of five games, he will be opening with Shikhar.

On lessons learnt from the Champions Trophy

As a team, you can’t win all the time or loose and you have to accept that this a part of the sport. Anyone can learn from defeats but we have learnt from victories as well. To be consistent you have to also learn from occasions when you have done well and that is something we have done. In Champions Trophy we learnt a lot – When bowlers are under pressure they responded well and that is something heartening to see. In the finals we had a bad game as a batting unit and so there is a hunger to improve things after making mistakes and that is the biggest quality of this team that we are willing to correct those mistakes.

How has captaincy changed yourself?

Playing as a player you don’t understand the dynamics of being a captain. But when you are captain you understand the requirements that exist in the environment from your side and the responsibility becomes much larger as everyone knows. Apart from that, it makes you a better person in terms of understanding people. It brings a lot of calmness in your persona as well which I would any day give my grey hair in return for that. It has come in good time and it will keep coming till whatever time I remain as a captain.

After a hectic home season, how do you approach the issue of workload?

We understand the workload bit as well and which are the guys who have played regularly and who need rest. I think in international cricket every game is an opportunity for a player to do something special. It improves your confidence whenever you perform. You cannot take any opposition lightly and you have to go out there and perform consistently.

So it’s going to be another series where he will be looking to play good cricket and win. Our mindset will not change purely because we played an ICC tournament and we have come for a bilateral series. It is a responsibility that you have when you play for your country and I am confident every player is committed to giving their 120 percent.

© The Indian EXPRESS

Virat Kohli’s Post-Match Press Remarks After The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 Final

Title-holders India, set 339 to win, collapsed to 33 for three and 54 for five against a Pakistan side they had thrashed by 124 runs in their tournament opener at Edgbaston on June 4.

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Virat Kohli had a smile on his face despite the heavy loss against Pakistan.

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli’s post-match press remarks, after his team’s defeat in the Champions Trophy final on Sunday, were widely appreciated by Pakistani fans. Kohli was not only thanked by cricket lovers from across the border but also described as a gentleman. The 28-year-old’s address after his side’s 180-run loss was even praised by the cricketing community.

“I want to congratulate Pakistan, they had an amazing tournament, the way they turned things around, speak volumes for the talent they have. They proved it again, they can upset anyone on their day, disappointing for us but I have a smile on my face because we played well to reach the final,” Kohli said.

“When players (Fakhar Zaman) like that get going on their day, it becomes really difficult to stop them because I think 80 percent of his shots were high-risk — and they were all coming off,” said Kohli.

“As a bowler and as a captain when that is happening … sometimes you have to sit and say ‘the guy is good enough on the day to tackle anything’.

“We certainly tried to make them hit in areas that we felt it would be uncomfortable, but we just didn’t have anything going our way in that partnership.”

Meanwhile, reflecting on India’s tournament as a whole, Kohli insisted: “We can (still) be very proud … and we leave here with our heads held high.

“Credit to everyone for standing up and showing that resilience and reaching the finals — (but) we were outplayed in all departments.

“In the end … you have to accept and admire sometimes the skill of the opposition,” Kohli added sportingly.

Mohammad Amir removed all of India’s top three as Pakistan routed their arch-rivals at The Oval.

Title-holders India, set 339 to win, collapsed to 33 for three and 54 for five against a Pakistan side they had thrashed by 124 runs in their tournament opener at Edgbaston on June 4.

They were eventually dismissed for 158 in reply to Pakistan’s 338 for four, which featured Zaman’s 114, the left-handed opener’s maiden one-day international hundred coming in just his fourth match at this level.

© AFP & Dattaraj Thaly, NDTV SPORTS

Past Statistics, Records Don’t Matter Says Virat Kohli Ahead Of India vs Pakistan Final

Virat Kohli addressed the media ahead of the the India vs Pakistan ICC Champions Trophy final on Sunday.

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Photo Credit: Prokerala.com

India skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday downplayed the importance of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final against Pakistan by saying that the team was treating the match as “just another game of cricket”. India, who had outclassed Pakistan in their first match of the group stage on June 4, will look be looking to retain the title they won in 2013 when they face their arch-rivals at The Oval, London on Sunday. However, India’s star batsman said that the past would not have a bearing in the final and no team are guaranteed a win.

“It is just another game of cricket tomorrow. We play to win every match. I don’t see any relevance of the first game in the final. Aim is to play well, and past statistics and records don’t matter. No team has the guarantee to win. The team which has better frame of mind will win the game.” Kohli told reporters ahead of the mega-clash on Sunday.

When India began their Champions Trophy campaign against Pakistan at Edgbaston on June 4, there were two different schools of thought about the prospects of the two sides. One half expected India, the defending champions, to make it all the way to the final, while the other half gave eighth-ranked Pakistan not even a ghost of a chance.

The Indian captain said that game would not have any relevance and praised the Pakistan team for reaching the final.

“Pakistan can beat anyone on their day, everyone is aware the kind of talent and ability they have,” said Kohli.

The star batsman has been in lip-smacking form. After scoring an unbeaten 76 against South Africa in the final group game, Kohli smashed 96 not out off 78 balls against Bangladesh in the semis to help India enter the final of the mega tournament.

Kohli moved to the top of the one-day International batting rankings this week with his three half-centuries in the tournament taking his total runs tally in the 50-over format to 8,008 at an average of 54.07.

“It’s how to think about the game and prepare for big matches. I see myself in difficult situations and convince myself that I can pull the team out of difficult situation. Positive thinking helps me think positive about the game,” Kohli said about his own batting.

The 28-year-old said that he wasn’t looking to make much changes to the squad and came out in strong defence of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who’s bowling has been below par in this tournament.

I’m not looking to change too many things. Will any day back a guy like Hardik Pandya. He can give you match-winning performance at any time. So far he has been giving a good performance. I expect my team to do good every time. I’m sure every player will give their 120 per cent.

Not only will India and Pakistan be locking horns on the cricket field, the hockey teams of the two countries will also be crossing swords in the Hockey World League (HWL) semi-finals on Sunday.

“I have never tried hockey, it is very scary. I wish our hockey team all the best. They are prety good and and I am sure they will do fine,” Kohli said.

© Santosh Rao, NDTV SPORTS

Virat Kohli Credits MS Dhoni For This Tactical Move vs Bangladesh

Virat Kohli credited former India captain MS Dhoni for the decision to bring in Kedar Jadhav at the crucial juncture.

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India decimated Bangladesh by nine wickets in the second semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at Edgbaston on Thursday to set up title clash against Pakistan. The defending champions chased down the 265-run target in 40.1 overs as the Bangladesh bowlers were sent on a leather hunt by the all-star Indian batting line-up. Though Bangladesh were going great guns at one stage with 154/2 after 28 overs, they lost the plot in the middle overs. Indian skipper Virat Kohli took a gamble to bring in Kedar Jadhav to bowl which worked well. Jadhav gave India the breakthrough in his second over itself which helped the defending champions peg Bangladesh back.

Kohli, during the post match press-conference, credited former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the decision to bring in the off-spinner at the crucial juncture. Kohli said that the game-changing decision was jointly taken by him and Dhoni. Jadhav dismissed set batsmen Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim after their 121-run stand to get India back on track in the match.

“Yeah, when moves like this pay off, I won’t take the whole credit. Obviously, I asked MS, as well, and we both decided that Kedar is a good option at the moment, and he bowled really well. Credit to him.

“Kedar doesn’t bowl much in the nets, but he is a smart cricketer. He knows where the batsmen get troubled, and if you can think like a batter when you are bowling, it’s obviously a bit of an advantage to any bowler. So I think that today he executed plans perfectly.”

Kohli was effusive in his praise for his new ball bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

“Well, they were outstanding. Especially, the last two games they have been terrific initially and in the later stages, as well, their wicket-taking ability is something that the opposition is aware of.

“So they are always careful going hard against these two guys, and yeah, their length after the Sri Lanka game has been impeccable. It’s been consistent, line close to the batsmen, always there with an opportunity to get a wicket, as I mentioned.

“Even in conditions which are not offering too much, bowling such lines that we can produce wicket-taking opportunities,” said Kohli.

© PTI & Abhishek Mahajan, NDTV SPORTS