Need to find the right balance before 2019 WC: Kohli
Leeds :Virat Kohli said that India will be looking to finding the right combination in the remaining ODI matches that they play before the 2019 World Cup. “We’ve got to get our act right and get the balance of the side and make sure we are not over-reliant on one skill,” he said while speaking in the post-match presentation ceremony following India’s eight-wicket loss to England. India also lost the series 2-1, which was the first time they had lost a bilateral ODI series since January 2016 and also Virat Kohli’s first ODI series loss as captain.
However, Kohli did not exactly spell out what areas they need to work on to be ready for the World Cup. “Well, quite a few,” Kohli said. “That is what every side is looking for: they are looking for the best balance they can have possibly. All these sort of series and these sort of losses will tell us exactly what we need to work on and the things we need to rectify come World Cup time.”
Having put 258 on the board, India fell short of the mark required for a competitive second inning. “We were never on the mark as far as the runs on the board was concerned, we were 25-30 less,” said Kohli. “England were really clinical with the ball, bat and the field as well. We were just not good enough.”
India’s fragile and unstable middle order was exposed this series as their mighty top order failed to get going. They decided to go for Dinesh Karthik in place of KL Rahul, who was going through a fine patch of form in the preceding T20I series but failed to score in the first two ODIs. Kohli dismissed the effect that change had on India’s chances in Leeds. “We thought Dinesh did well, but he couldn’t convert his start, so I don’t regret the batting order changes. Shardul was meant to get some exposure, and Bhuvi needed to make a comeback. When the changes don’t come off, they look unnecessary so it must be taken in our stride,” he said.
Kohli stated he was left surprised with the behaviour of the pitch which was slow throughout. He said initially with the new ball it had been two-paced, but subsequently became slow which helped spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali. “They suffocated us through the middle overs really well. And the two spinners again joining hands and bowling 20 overs together. They really bowled well in partnerships. That is what you need as a side – you need bowlers to step up and bowl in partnerships. None of them got greedy, they just kept containing the runs and got the results eventually.”
India and England have now both won three matches in total on this tour with India winning the T20I series 2-1 and England winning the ODI series by the same ratio. The two teams will now play a five-match Test series. “The Test squad is pretty settled, and it’s going to be a lengthy series. We want to play tough cricket and we know the English side will provide us with that,” he said.