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

Not Bothered That Middle & Lower Order Is Untested: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli attends a press conference ahead of India’s semi-final against Bangladesh.

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Image Courtesy: Taiwan News

BIRMINGHAM: Law of averages is one aspect in cricket that international teams are always wary of but Virat Kohli is not bothered one bit about what may happen if the famed and in-form Indian top-order flounders in the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final against Bangladesh.

Asked if the lack of batting time for middle and lower order, after three successful league games, could pose problems, Kohli was dismissive.

“No, that’s not a concern. Obviously, as a batsman you want to finish off games, so you are not necessarily going to get out thinking my middle-order hasn’t got any game time.

“So, given an opportunity, everyone would like to finish games convincingly and, as I said everyone is batting well,” Kohli said on the eve of the match here.

For the combative Indian captain, lack of batting time during matches would only spur Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav to cash in and deliver whenever they are required.

“In the practice games, everyone has got a hit, and we know Kedar and Hardik are playing really well at the moment, so we are not bothered at all. Rather they (Kedar and Hardik) are looking for an opportunity if the team is in a bit of trouble.

“I am sure those two guys are going to step up and take the team through along with Ash (Ravichandran Ashwin) and Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) as well. Those guys are actually waiting for opportunities, and that’s a great mindset to have.

“They are not sitting comfortably thinking ‘oh these guys are going to do the job’. They are actually prepared if a crisis situation comes in… ‘we want to be the match winners’ (that) is the energy they are creating,” Kohli sounded confident.

Kohli and the current team has played a number of pressure games in ICC tournaments, but he said on a new day that will count for little.

“Yeah, we have played these kind of games before quite a few times but there are no guarantees in this sport. As we have seen in the league stages as well, a lot of teams have surprised the opposition, and we are certainly not taking anything for granted.

“We will use whatever momentum we have gained in this tournament to execute what we want to. We are not going to go according to past results and what we have done in the past tournaments. Going into a big game like this, we are going to treat it as how we treated the last game, and our mindset does not differ.”

Kohli made it clear that an unchanged XI would take on Bangladesh and Umesh Yadav will be warming the bench.

“We gave a lot of people chances in the practice games and he (Umesh) did bowl well in that game but that does not mean that you necessarily play someone who has done well against a particular opposition in a practice game.”

He was all praise for Ashwin’s performance against South Africa.

“I think Ashwin was brilliant in the last game, and I don’t see any good reason to change that. The team played really well. It was a complete performance, and I certainly don’t think that there is any need to change anything.”

Kohli was very respectful of Bangladesh as an opposition despite India enjoying a great record against them.

“It is no surprise anymore to anyone that they are doing really well, and they have really improved their cricket, and it is a credit to their set-up and the kind of players they have  now who are taking more responsibility.

“Bangladesh is a very dangerous side on their day and everyone realises that. Bangladesh have taken huge strides. I mean they are in the top-eight sides in the world. So yeah, they are a very competitive side,” Kohli side.

The one question that must have irritated him was the 2015 World Cup quarter-final controversy.

“It’s been 24 months! I seriously don’t think that anyone is thinking about that game. We have had so many matches against each other since then, and we are certainly not going out to prove a point to anyone.

“We just want to play good cricket as a side. Our opposition could be anyone. We are not really thinking about what’s happened in the past or things that go on at the international level,” Kohli said, setting the record straight.

© THE TIMES OF INDIA

I Don’t Get Satisfied After Getting A Hundred: Virat Kohli

From preparation to execution, captain Virat Kohli puts into perspective his record-breaking run.

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Australia are yet to arrive in India for their upcoming high profile four-match Test series, but they have already confessed they don’t have any plans to contain Virat Kohli. It is the feeling that West Indies went through in Antigua, New Zealand in Indore, England in Mumbai and Bangladesh in Hyderabad. In four consecutive Test series, the Indian captain has got four double hundreds. He has eclipsed Sir Don Bradman and former India Captain and current India A and U-19 coach Rahul Dravid, who scored double tons in three consecutive Test series.

In the lead up to the Test against Bangladesh, Virat did not immerse himself in the nets. Change in formats do not matter to him. He even opened in the recently concluded T20Is against England, but when he is back in the whites, his aggressive intent takes a different form. En route to his double hundred, he had three partnerships and he was the dominant force in all three. At the same time, also collected 108 running runs. He got his first fifty in 70 balls, the second in 60 and his third fifty in only 40 balls to reach the 150-run mark. There was no big hit, no six. In fact, in this home season in Tests, he has hit just a solitary six.

When width was provided or a short ball bowled, he made full use, yet 67 per cent of his runs were in front of the wicket. Of the 127 runs he scored against the spinners, the shot that got him his double was his first lofted one. It is a model based on traditional scoring methods, insane fitness levels, mental superiority, the desire to outperform himself and an insatiable hunger for excellence.

After his record-breaking double ton, the Indian captain spoke to BCCI.TV and explained how the added responsibility brings out the best in him.

It started off from Antigua and you now have a double hundred in every series. You’ve even surpassed Sir Don Bradman and Rahul Dravid.

I think it is because of captaincy that you tend to go on more than you would as a batsman. I think there is no room for complacency when you become the captain. I have always wanted to play long innings. My first seven-eight (seven) hundreds were not even 120 plus scores and after that I made a conscious effort to bat long. (I) Controlled my excitement and worked on not getting complacent at any stage. I have worked on those things and have worked on my fitness over the years. I feel like I can go on for longer periods. I don’t get tired as much as I used to before. I definitely don’t get satisfied when I get a Test hundred which was the case before because I used to give too much importance to Test cricket separately. Now, I have just started to treat it as any (other) game of cricket and I have to keep going on till the time my team needs me to.

You opened the batting recently in T20Is. Despite the change in format from white ball to red ball, you are able to bat the way just like the way you want to. How do you manage to do that?

It is not an easy thing to do with the amount of cricket we play nowadays. It is more of a mental thing. I don’t necessarily focus too much on practice. Sometimes, you don’t get to practice too much, but mentally you need to focus and think about what you are going to do in the game. Switching to different formats is the need of the hour and I want to contribute in all three formats. It has always been my mindset. I have to prepare a certain way. It is more mental than getting into the nets. I think about the game a lot.

It surely must not be as easy to bat for so long and get a big score as you made it look like here in Hyderabad?

The wicket was really good to bat on to be honest. It wasn’t as testing as other wickets that I scored centuries on. To get a double hundred you need to bat for a long period and you need to do things right to get to that score. The focus was only to follow my intent and at the same time, be careful about choosing my shots. Luckily, I struck the right balance in this particular innings and it feels good to have got a big score.

You were spot on with your first review. What made you not opt for the second one?

If the ball has spun from right under my eyes when I am batting on 180, it has to spin a lot for me to miss it as I had been connecting all. It wasn’t a lapse in concentration. The ball really spun sharply from the front of my pad. We had two reviews left. If I got out, I would’ve been the fifth batsman to get out and others could still use the one review left.

For the other, I thought I was plumb in front. I was falling back when I got hit on the pad as well and that’s why the umpire could not give not out either. I wasn’t standing there, I was falling behind. If you look at the real-time replay it looks plumb. The umpires don’t have a replay and so do the players. I didn’t want to use a review that I felt like I was plumb in front because a Saha, Jadeja or Ashwin could be nearing a milestone and they could use it for themselves as well. The second one to me felt like I was plumb and that’s why I started walking briskly as well. No grudges with the umpire either as it happened way too quickly for them to understand where it actually impacted the pads.

© Moulin Parikh, BCCI

Important To Back Your Top XI – Virat Kohli

‘Rahane deserves to walk back into the team’ – Kohli.

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Virat Kohli has said that India are unlikely to make too many changes, particularly in their batting line-up, as the think-tank looks to back players and give them confidence. The India captain has also said that youngsters who have performed will be groomed further as the team looks to build on its bench strength.

If India opt to not play six batsmen in this game, Karun Nair could miss out despite his triple-hundred in India’s previous Test. Kohli said that Nair has done well to stay in the squad but if it comes down to picking between the two players, the more established Ajinkya Rahane will get the call. Nair, who made his debut in the third Test against England in Mohali, got two more opportunities after Rahane was forced out due to a finger injury. India coach Anil Kumble had also said the side had not forgotten Rahane’s performances over the last two years.

Kohli said that while certain conditions may dictate the selection of an extra pace bowler or spinner, the batting line-up is likely to be kept consistently similar

“You need to back players for a long time for them to become match-winners and have long careers. I think bowlers can be switched according to conditions. You might want to play seamers or three spinners, some guys might have more pace or reverse swing, you can change those.

“I think from a batting point of view you need big runs in Test cricket, and to chop and change continuously doesn’t let them gain confidence. People who have been regular in the XI need to be given a chance. If form or that kind of thing happens you are subject to that change, otherwise it’s important to back your top XI. At the same time, you need to keep those youngsters within the squad and groom them. I think communication is a big thing on that front and we do that very well with the management, conveying to the players what they want.”

Kohli said that India’s bench is filled with cricketers who can step up to replace the incumbents when needed. “Bench strength gives you options when people are injured. That’s where it comes. An injury should not deplete a team; that’s something that bench strength contributes from. We are lucky to have guys who are up and ready for Test cricket. Jayant [Yadav] walked in beautifully. In T20s and one-dayers you saw [Yuzvendra] Chahal and Kedar [Jadhav] stepping up. We do have a pool of players who are coming up nicely. Credit obviously goes to the selectors for identifying them, and to the players as well who practise their disciplines regularly, that’s how you come up into that pool.

“I think it’s a back-and-forth sort of thing where you identify players but they have to put in the effort, which they have. So we’ve been lucky. We have good bench strength going forward. God forbid if there is any injury, we have two-three guys to fill up positions,” he said.

Kohli said that the India bowling attack’s patience during partnerships had helped them win seven of the eight home Tests this season, against New Zealand and England.

“I think is what we have done well over the last four Test matches not before, I would say, is be patient when there’s been a partnership. I think there was one instance in West Indies in Jamaica when we kept going positive and we didn’t hold back and we couldn’t take 20 wickets and the bowlers got tired,” he said. “I think we have done the patience bit very well in the series against New Zealand and England, bogging down the batsman and earning the wickets in difficult situations in the game.

“That’s something we want to do and to improve on as a team. When everyone is young, everyone is excited in the team. Sometimes people tend to get carried away and you don’t understand the importance of being patient.

“But I think the guys have worked hard on their fitness, they don’t mind bowling dot balls without attacking the batsman throughout the day. They have the fitness to bowl all day in one channel and when the door opens, just sneak in. That’s the biggest learning we have had in the past season and we’d like to take that forward.”

© Mohammad Isam, ESPN Sports Media Ltd.