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

 

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