Virat Kohli Clears Air, No Problems Playing ODI Series

The first ODI will be played on August 20 at Dambulla.

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Virat Kohli addressing media ahead of the third Test at Pallekele. (Photo Courtesy: Prokerala.com)

India captain Virat Kohli on Friday put all the rumours, about him not willing to play the One Day International series (ODI) against Sri Lanka, to rest after he made it clear that he has no problems playing the upcoming series. “Who said I am not playing? I don’t know where this came from, but I have no problems in playing,” Kohli answered to a query on team selection. The Indian team will be selected on August 13. “We (team management and selectors) are going to sit down on selection soon and we certainly have plans in mind and combinations that we want to speak about. So as captain, I am definitely in the thick of things and knowing what to speak to the committee about,” he added.

Fully aware of spinners’ heavy workload during the ongoing Test series against Sri Lanka, the team management and national selectors may rest Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja from the limited overs matches. It is expected that pacer Mohammed Shami will also be rested from the ODI series as his workload needs to be monitored. Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad is in Kandy to track the performances while his colleague Devang Gandhi is in South Africa with the A team.

After the last Test of the three-match series in Pallekele starting from Saturday, the Indian cricket team will play the five-match ODI series. The first match will be played in Dambulla on August 20. The Men in Blue also play one-off Twenty after the ODI series.

(With PTI inputs)

© NDTV SPORTS

We Want To Do Things Right From Our Point Of View: Virat Kohli

India skipper Virat Kohli wants the side to focus on their own strengths and doing things right regardless of the nature of the opposition ahead of the next game against West Indies.

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Virat Kohli believes the team must look to focus on their strengths. (Photo Credit: AFP)

St John’s, Antigua: Antigua, where driving 11 miles on either side brings you to the sea, is so tranquil that apart from the sonorous sound made by tree frogs and crickets together, you hear nothing.

It gives, as India skipper Virat Kohli said on the day of arrival in the Caribbean, a relaxed atmosphere so needed right after the intense Champions Trophy. In a way, this isolation could be a blessing in disguise for the Indian team that had been riven by the coach-captain discord.

Walking through the tiny and unassuming village town of St John’s, you get to know from the ice cream vendor what flavour Sir Viv Richards prefers when he drops in for a shake, and get to know easily where Curtly Ambrose is playing the bass next, and of course the casino he’ll be visiting.

It is quiet with former star cricketers doing their things without making news even though they breathed fire during their playing days.

Current West Indian paceman Alzarri Joseph too comes from one of the villages that makes up the island and although quick, he hasn’t been able to make an impact in the two ODIs and the one-dayers before. He troubled the India U-19s at the junior World Cup, bursting into limelight, and last year scalped Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in the Test at Gros Islet.

His shambolic performance here, however, reflects the state West Indies cricket is in. So for a top class side like India, this lack of competition is also a test.

The second ODI looked more like being played at two different levels. India batted superbly whereas West Indies behaved like an associate nation looking to just bat out the overs even though they were just 43.

In such a situation, what is the motivation?

Skipper Virat Kohli says it is about following the processes and the standard they have set just to ensure they don’t lose track. At the moment, West Indies are lying in the ninth position with a 16-point difference against the next best, eighth placed Sri Lanka.

“For us, it about doing the things that we can do right and executing our skills to the best of our potential. Regardless of how the opposition reacts we want to do things right from our point of view, keep putting in the effort every ball, every over we play with the bat and the ball, in the field as well,” says Kohli.

“That’s the kind of mindset we take on the field. Regardless of what the opposition is doing we like to focus on our strengths.”

This, however, is also an opportunity to sort out weak links too. The middle order appears brittle and under pressure it cracked in the Champions Trophy final. By handing the opportunity to Kuldeep Yadav and by pushing Hardik Pandya up the batting order, Kohli made his intentions known.

A total of 300 runs isn’t enough these days as a target, as was proved against Sri Lanka in Champions Trophy, and the skipper is already working on setting the bar high. He smashed 87 off 66 balls and sent in Pandya ahead of Yuvraj and Dhoni.

“Kedar and Hardik haven’t got much game time in the past. The more games they get under their belt and more experience they get it will be good. They are actually consistently striking every game and more experience they get, then as a middle order group you can begin to go after the bowling early,” says the Indian captain.

© Khurram Habib, hindustantimes

 

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

Felt Like A Club Batter In Front Of Yuvraj Singh: Virat Kohli

Yuvraj Singh took pressure off when I couldn’t get runs: Virat Kohli.

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BIRMINGHAM: Indian captain Virat Kohli on Sunday said he “felt like a club batter” when teammate Yuvraj Singh was in full flow during the ICC Champions Trophy match against Pakistan.

Defending champions India started their campaign with a resounding 124-run victory over Pakistan.

Kohli and Yuvraj stood out in an all-round batting effort, propelling India to 319 for three after rain halted proceedings twice. Yuvraj smashed 53 off 32 balls.

“Yuvi took pressure off when I couldn’t get runs. The way he was hitting the ball, I felt like a club batter in front of him,” Kohli said at the post-match press conference.

While he was pleased with the win, Kohli was not impressed with India’s fielding.

“With the bat and ball, right up there – I would say nine out of 10. In the field we were still 6 today. Very strong performance, we’ve taken the confidence from the practice games.

“We need to tighten our fielding to compete hard against the best teams.”

The Indian batsmen remained focussed despite the rain breaks with Rohit Sharma (91 off 119), Shikhar Dhawan (68 off 65), Kohli (81 not out off 68) and Yuvraj (53 off 32) rising to the occasion in a game reduced to 48 overs a side.

Kohli said, “Quite delighted with all batsmen chipping in with runs. Shikhar and Rohit – last time we won here, the opening partnership was crucial. Rohit took some time going, but he’s coming back from an injury, and international cricket is different to IPL.

“And Hardik, 18 off five balls, was outstanding. We went with four seamers purely because we’re playing Pakistan. They play spin really well, and most of them are right-handers.

“In pressure situations, to have mid-on, mid-off up and hit hard lengths, gives us an advantage. Against other sides, we might use two spinners, depending on their strengths.”

Man of the Match Yuvraj was happy that he could capitalise on the chances offered by the Pakistanis.

“I thought we all batted really well. The openers gave us a good start, Virat finished well, and it gave me the opportunity to go and attack. You just have to go and back yourself, and tell the opposition that you’re here to attack.

“I was lucky I was dropped, but I capitalised and I was hitting it well. I finished well. India-Pakistan is always a big game, and I think it has set us up really well. Hopefully we’ll take this confidence into the next game against Sri Lanka.”

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed felt his side lost the plot in the last overs of the Indian innings.

“Everything was under control after 40 overs, but we lost the plot in the last eight. Credit to India’s batsmen. They scored 124 in those last eight, and the momentum went to India. I think we need to stick together and control our bowling rate, especially last few overs,” a disappointed Sarfraz said.

© THE TIMES OF INDIA

Virat Kohli To Meet CoA Over Pay Structure

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

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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.

© THE TIMES OF INDIA