London: The Indian captain hopes to use the time in England to solve the middle-order concerns in the limited-overs teams, reported ICC.
Exactly as his England counterpart, Eoin Morgan had said, Virat Kohli too stressed on the importance of looking at as many players as possible and tinkering with the playing combination ahead of the ICC World T20 2020, when the teams meet in the three-match Twenty20 International series in England.
On the eve of the first fixture, to be played at Old Trafford on Tuesday, 3 July, Kohli said, “I think it gives you an opportunity to try a lot of players, try a lot of bench strength, a lot of fringe players who you might look at in the future as well, test their character. We’re certainly in that zone as well. Look at who the next lot is to come in … especially in the limited-overs format and from there they can build on it and probably play Test cricket as well.”
“Looking at the World Cup, we will try a lot of players in the shorter formats. The middle order in the ODIs has been something that we have been looking for, so we have a few things that we want to try out and address there as well. This next phase is going to be really important to figure all those things out and have the best balance that we need going into that big tournament. That’s quite far away, but we have a vision for it.”
India started their tour with two T20Is against Ireland, and won both of them convincingly. But Kohli didn’t have too good a time with the bat, scoring a duck and nine.
Once the Indian Premier League 2018 ended, it emerged that Kohli would be heading to Surrey to get ready for the tour, and skipped the Test match against Afghanistan as a result. But then a neck injury meant that he couldn’t travel. That might have left him a bit undercooked, but he doesn’t want to give it too much thought.
“The point was that we haven’t played in those wet and damp conditions ever, as a team. Having spoken to the players who came here and played, they said it was a great experience, learning a lot more things about their games,” he said.
“As a cricketer, you look for new challenges every now and then. That’s something I wanted to go and experience because you don’t get to play too much cricket here before we come on tour. All these guys come during the IPL and they get a feel of how the wickets are and a lot of things. I thought ‘why can’t we do it, why can’t we go to those conditions and play and get to know how the pitches work’.
“But looking at the pitches, it’s totally opposite to what it was when the season was going on. In hindsight, it’s not something that would have made too much of a difference.”
Australia were in England recently and lost the five-match one-day international series 5-0 before losing the one-off T20I as well, but Kohli feels India will be tougher nuts to crack than the Australians were.
“Playing against a good team in their conditions and at their home, to get the opportunity to be able to beat them in their home conditions, it is a point of excitement for us and not pressure,” he said. “When they came to India last time, we won the series, and the trophy is with us, and now they are on home soil and they need to play well to win it back. We will play fearless cricket.
“The takeaway from this tour obviously will be the way we play our cricket and the mindset, and the attitude that we maintain. No one can guarantee results, but just wanting to win every session and every ball that we play, if we can carry that on for the length of the tour, I will be really proud as a captain and we will be really proud of ourselves as a team.
“This is what we did in South Africa till the last day of the tour. We continued the mindset from day one, even though we lost some games, but we knew we were in the games for us to be able to turn it around very quickly and that is why those results followed after.”