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

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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

Virat Kohli Wants To Win The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 Without Losing A Game

Indian skipper Virat Kohli said that winning for India was the only thing that mattered to him.

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Virat Kohli-led Team India will face Pakistan on June 4.

India will be looking to retain the ICC Champions Trophy without losing any matches and the only thing that matters to skipper Virat Kohli is to win matches for India. “I would never play for redemption, my only motivation is to keep winning games for my country and doesn’t matter the conditions I am playing in, it might be in sub-continent, it might be England, Australia, South Africa, the aim always is to win games and I am willing to do whatever I can to be able to achieve that for the team,” Kohli said at the press conference before the team’s departure for the tournament.

“People might look at it redemption, opportunity or stuff like that but in my head I don’t think of those things at all, for me it’s a game of cricket played anywhere in the world,” the Indian skipper added.

He believes that the standard of competition in the Champions Trophy is higher than World Cup. The Indian captain was answering a question which related to his poor run in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL).

Kohli had a fairly indifferent IPL, with 308 runs from the 10 innings he played after recovering from an injury he picked up during the Australia series.

His display included four half-centuries, which by his standards was a rather poor show, given his standards — he had four consecutive centuries in IPL 9.

The Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore ended at the bottom of the table and were dumped out of the tournament at the end of the league stage. They managed to win just three of their 14 league matches, the third win coming in their last match last match, against Delhi Daredevils.

“We want to win it without losing a game,” Kohli said. “We have to be at top of our game from Ball 1.”

India begin their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan at Edgbaston on June 4. Kohli said that his sole ambition is to win matches for India.

“If players don’t do well in India and then go back, there is no hype around it, you don’t do well away from India it is like a knife hanging on your neck, so I don’t believe in those things.

“India, Pakistan game is always exciting but for us it is a game of cricket,” Kohli said. “The hype around India-Pakistan game not always in our control,” he added.

Kohli said that the presence of players like Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh in the squad only added to it.

“If given freedom, Dhoni and Yuvraj know how to bring their experience into play,” he added.

The tournament begins on June 1.

India have two practice matches to play ahead of the tournament proper, against New Zealand and Bangladesh.

© NDTV SPORTS

Virat Kohli Says T20Is Chance For Parvez Rasool to Prove Himself

India captain Virat Kohli said that the three Twenty20 Internationals against England are a chance for Parvez Rasool and Yuzvendra Chahal to establish themselves.

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Virat Kohli will be leading the Indian cricket team in the three-match T20I series vs England.

India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday said that Yuzvendra Chahal and Parvez Rasool have a chance to prove themselves and establish their presence in the three Twenty20 Internationals to be played against England. He feels that the series will provide the perfect opportunity for the duo to establish themselves as “specialists” in the shortest format of the game. A good show by Rasool and Chahal may also lessen the workload on world’s premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who along with Ravindra Jadeja, has been rested for the T20Is.

“The guys who have come in have done pretty well in the IPL, in the domestic T20s. The areas they are bowling in are pretty good and are pretty economical. Yuzvendra, everyone has seen his performances, even Rasool played under me at RCB,” Kohli said at the pre-match media conference.

“It is probably a breakthrough series for them. They haven’t played a big series yet so this might be the perfect opportunity to seal their spots as T20 specialist spinners for the future,” Kohli made it clear as to what is there in stake for youngsters.

About Rasool, the skipper said that he has an ability to bowl with the new ball.

“He (Rasool) is pretty confident, he can bowl with the new ball against the most attacking guys. These two guys are very smart about their bowling. I am sure they will able to replicate their domestic success at this level.”

The series is also big break for the likes of Rishabh Pant , Mandeep Singh along with veterans Ashish Nehra and Suresh Raina.

Ask about Raina, who has not played a match for national time since World T20 in March.

“I think he (Raina) still has a lot to offer. He has not played in a while because there have not been too many limited overs series since the World T20. We played a lot of Test matches in between so it seems there is a bit of a gap. We still believe he has enough to contribute in shorter formats. I would say it is a series of opportunities for a lot of guys to seal their spots,” the skipper said.

“Everyone is included in the squad is because we feel that they can contribute. At the end of the day, it is up to the individual (to perform). Hopefully he (Raina) gets back into the groove, he certainly has a lot to offer especially in shorter formats,” he further added.

The skipper made it clear that there is not much room for changing the team composition in the opening game before adding that he can also open the innings just like he has done it for the RCB in the IPL.

“It is quite easy as of now (the team combination). The problem always arises when you don’t have consistency. Starting now we would be able to figure out the best combination after a few games. In the first game, you have a set line-up to start with but if there are consistency issues with a batting position then it becomes difficult , whether you want to replace the guy or stick with him for a few more games,” explained Kohli.

Going forward, Kohli elaborated as to why he would like to open the innings.

“There are all kinds of possibilities. In the IPL, you don’t have many Indian batsmen to choose from because they are spread across the franchisees. Here (in international cricket) you have a lot of options as far as Indian batsmen are concerned.

“We have a lot of options (in batting line-up), which is a very good thing. If need be I can open, it all depends on the balance of the side. I have only opened in one T20 International, may be two but I have experience of opening in the IPL. If need be, I could or I might not. It all depends on the balance of the side,” he stressed.

India were the better team in both Tests and ODIs though the 50-over series was closely fought. Kohli said the team is capable of a lot more than what it has produced this season.

“We would definitely like to extend our run from Test and ODIs to T20s. We want to play more special cricket, play more positive than what we have in the past, not worry about the result too much. In this format we need to go out and show our true potential.”

There is stiff competition for places among the seniors and juniors.

“The squad if you see has been selected like that. We have got quite a few youngsters who want to prove with senior guys in the team. Eventually the idea is groom them enough and then to give them more confidence and have a gradual progress graph for them. It is important to back them enough,” he concluded.

© NDTV SPORTS