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.


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 Reveals Why Mohammed Shami Didn’t Play Against Pakistan In ICC Champions Trophy 2017

India are likely to retain their playing XI for their next match against Sri Lanka at The Oval.


India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday said that Mohammed Shami is the one player with the least match practice among the four fast bowlers in the squad which is why he was kept out of their opening game against Pakistan on June 4.

Shami returned to the team for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 after spending more than two years recuperating from the shoulder injury.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah are the in-form bowlers for India and hence, have been Kohli’s preferred choice.

“Shami has not played 50-over cricket for a long time and I am glad he bowled really well in the practice games. But I felt the others – Umesh, Bhuvi and Bumrah – had much more match practice and had the performances to back that up,” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference on the eve of their clash against Sri Lanka.

Kohli though made it clear that Shami is always in the scheme of things of the team and is a proven match-winner. But he will step in only if someone else gets injured.

“A bowler like Shami will always be in the scheme of things for us. He is the sort of guy who can win you games in any form of cricket. He is feeling his way back in and is certainly an asset.

“If, god forbid, something happens to someone, we have someone like Shami who’s ready to strike and has proven himself. That just shows our bench strength,” Kohli added.

Umesh was the pick of the bowlers for India in their first match against Pakistan, getting 3 wickets for 30 runs in 7.4 overs while Bhuvneshwar Kumar got one wicket. Bumrah was as usual economical in his five-over spell and helped build pressure on the Pakistani batsmen.

India are likely to go in with the same playing XI in their next match against Sri Lanka at The Oval on Thursday. A win would see the Men in Blue go through to the semi-finals alongside hosts England.

© Rohan Sen, indiatoday.in

No Problem With Anil Kumble, People Making Up Issues: Virat Kohli

Captain Virat Kohli laid rest to all rumours that things are not right in the team with coach Anil Kumble.


Indian Captain on Saturday Virat Kohli dismissed all rumours about there being a rift between him and head coach Anil Kumble. Addressing the media in Birmingham, Kohli said that there was no problem with Kumble and people were making up issues. “There are no problems whatsoever,” he said ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy India-Pakistan match on Sunday. “People are trying to create a livelihood by making up issues.” He further added that, “it’s been really good working with Anil Kumble.”

When asked about how does he handle such situations, Virat Kohli responded saying there is nothing to handle. “I chose not to think about something so there is nothing to handle,” he said. “In India people lack patience and speculate a lot… That’s all we can say… We are focused on our livelihood (on the field). As a cricketer we are focused on the Champions Trophy.”

There had been widespread rumours this week that all was not right between Kumble and Kohli. There were even reports of former captain Sourav Ganguly meeting the entire team at the hotel asking for feedback on him as a coach. Ganguly is part of the three-member Cricket Advisory Committee that also includes Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman.

However, on Saturday, Ganguly came out and quashed all talk of him meeting the players. Considering the team is in the middle of an important tournament, Ganguly said it was best if the focus was kept on cricket. Ganguly also refused to comment on Kumble’s future as coach of the Indian cricket team.

India take on Pakistan in their opening match of the ICC Champions Trophy on Sunday. Kohli chose to focus on the upcoming match.

“We don’t play Pakistan often but they can create a surprise. Can never take them lightly. We focus on what we can do,” Kohli said ahead of the match on Sunday. “I’m under no pressure. My mindset remains the same in all games.”

He added, “Will pick our best bowling attack”.


Virat Kohli To Meet CoA Over Pay Structure

Virat Kohli to meet the CoA before the IPL final in Hyderabad on May 21.


NEW DELHI: Indian captain Virat Kohli is likely to take up the issue of hikes and payment structure of players when he meets the Committee of Administrators (CoA) before the IPL final in Hyderabad on May 21. It is learnt that senior cricketers, who had earlier told CoA that the current payment structure was unscientific and needed to be rectified, would discuss the payment structure. The cricketers would also take up the issue of non-payment of fees and other compensation which has been pending for months.

Sources have indicated that the mood is that players would not be willing for settle for less than what they are negotiating for. With their Australian counterparts making something to the tune of Rs 7 to 10 crore and even bargaining for more, the Indian players are keen that they too get something at par with the Aussies. Sources said that the Grade A players, who are paid around Rs 2 crore retainership fees, could be looking at more than Rs 7 crore especially for those who are playing in all the three formats for the country.

Indian cricketers get Rs 15 lakh per Test, Rs 6 lakh per ODI and Rs 3 lakh for T20I and a player of Kohli’s stature makes more than Rs 5 crore.

The main issue that could emerge is that players, who are not in Tests but only playing limited-overs cricket, should be paid under one basket and those who are only in Tests and not playing the shorter formats would get another set of retainership fees. Sources said that those who are playing in both the formats would be eligible for payment under both the retainership fees. If the players get a hike, they are also entitled to get separate match fees.

It was also understood that current management of the board is on the same page with the players, but they may not agree to such a big hike without understanding the whole dynamics of the payment to other domestic and junior levels. Even the board isn’t aware of any particular figure which the cricketers are looking at. Sources said that the CoA may be willing to keep the Grade A system for Test and shorter formats separate and ensure that a cricketer like Cheteshwar Pujara is duly compensated because of not playing IPL and shorter formats for India.

Furthermore, there is also a thought process that the Test retainership should be higher than the shorter formats. It would be interesting to see if the cricketers agree to it. “At the end of his career, Pujara shouldn’t feel that he hasn’t earned enough after playing Test cricket when an IPL contract could see an up coming domestic cricketer making more than him. There has to be a balance,” the board functionary said.

 Kumble too will meet CoA

Sources said that Indian coach Anil Kumble, who gave an exhaustive report on how the cricketers should be paid, is also going to meet CoA on May 21. However, he is supposed to meet the board functionary separately as per the agenda. The CoA, who is responsible for renewing all big contracts, is expected to discuss his financial terms as his contract with BCCI ends after the Champions Trophy.

 The top functionaries are keen that Kumble would continue after the ICC event and he can’t be penalised for expressing his view on Indian participation in the Champions Trophy when BCCI was at loggerheads with ICC.



Virat Kohli Reveals Long Term Ambition: Wanted To Be One Of The Top Players In The World

Virat Kohli received the Polly Umrigar for a record third time in his career at the BCCI annual awards ceremony being held in Bengaluru on Wednesday.


India captain Virat Kohli was honoured with the Polly Umrigar award at the Board of Control for Cricket in India annual awards ceremony on Wednesday. Kohli is the only Indian cricketer to receive this award three times.

Kohli, upon receiving the award from former India wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer, thanked his teammates and acknowledged 2016 as the breakthrough year in his career.

“It’s been quite unbelievable, the last 10-12 months. As cricketers you always have a breakthrough year. Starting later 2015 to end of last year probably I could recall, you know, when I get older as the breakthrough year in my career. All the hard-work, all the training, on a daily basis all the sacrifices I think came together nicely,” Kohli said at the glittering awards ceremony which was held in Bengaluru.

“Couldn’t have been possible without the help of my teammates. At times when you don’t do well is when champion players in your side step up. Everyone has been able to do that and that’s why we are the top side in the world. Its testimony to the kind of talent we have in the team. I thank all my teammates for the support, the trust and the effort. It’s a great honour receiving this for the third time,” he added.

The ceremony was conducted by former India all-rounder and Team Director Ravi Shastri, who also asked Kohli on what triggered off the spark in him that took his game to a different level.

“I always wanted to be one of the top players in the world so I understood what it would take for me to maintain my form in all three formats. Its very important in the transitional phase to be available for all three formats. The kind of position the BCCI has put me in I’m very thankful of. I take it as an opportunity, I don’t take this as a job. I’ve been put in a place that I need to do the right things, set the right examples and follow a certain path that the whole team believes in.

“My early days in my career as well there have been people who doubted the way I’ve gone about with my game. Even now there are doubters and haters all around. But one thing is for sure that I’ve always believed in myself, always believed in my heart that if I work hard 120% everyday of my life then I won’t be answerable to anyone,” Kohli said.

The 28-year-old was on a roll last year amassing 1215 runs in 12 Tests at an average of over 75 including a record four double hundreds in consecutive series. He scored 739 runs in 10 ODIs at 92.37 with three hundreds and slammed 641 runs in 15 Twenty20 internationals at 106.83 with seven half-centuries to his name. He is the only batsman in the world who averages over 50 in all three formats of the game.

© Rohan Sen, indiatoday.in