World Cup 2019: Virat Kohli says only one spot will see change, rest pretty much sorted

FE Online

The Indian cricket team is “pretty much sorted” in terms of combination and the World Cup squad will get to see a maximum of one change, captain Virat Kohli said after India suffered a 2-3 series defeat to Australia on Wednesday, the first series loss at home under the new skipper. Virat Kohli also heaped praise on Australia following his team s ODI series defeat, terming the visitors as the deserving winners.

Asserting that India is pretty sure about its playing XI, Kohli said, “As a side, combination wise, we are pretty sorted. Maximum one change, you’ll get to see in the World Cup. As a side, we’re balanced.”

“Hardik Pandya will come back to the team. With him, there’s batting depth, and bowling option opens up. We know where we have to go as a combination. The XI is clear in our head. We just have to take better decisions in pressure situations to go far in the World Cup,” he added.

Read | We ve got to be smart, says Virat Kohli on managing IPL workload

Team India is scheduled to play their opening World Cup match against the Proteas on June 5. The match comes days after IPL 2019 concludes on May 12. The BCCI and the IPL franchises are to still zero down the contentious issue of workload management of World Cup-bound players.

Two mega cricketing events – ICC World Cup and IPL 2019 – are scheduled to held within the gap of few weeks. While the showpiece ICC event World Cup 2019 will begin from May 31 in England, the cash-rich T20 league IPL 2019 is scheduled to kick start from March 23. Most players of the present Indian ODI team are expected to play in the slots of their respective IPL teams, which might put them under great strain just before the start of a crucial tournament like the World Cup.

Responding to the issue, Kohli called on his players to go out and enjoy themselves in the IPL 2019. We spoke about going out and enjoying the IPL for its full duration. These guys must enjoy themselves, even though being on the road for so long does take a toll. But when there is a long season, you can reflect on it. I think it has been a hectic season, but we are proud of how we have played, Kohli said at the presser at Feroze Shah Kotla ground in Delhi on Wednesday.

However, Kohli’s remarks are a departure from his earlier stance he took before the start of T20I series between India and Australia. The Indian skipper had advised his team to not alter their games to suit the needs of the IPL. They have to make sure that their games don t go too much away from the one-day mould of things. That means we will have to be very wary of the bad habits that might creep in during the IPL, Kohli had said.

“That (not picking up bad habit) will take a consistent effort from all the players during the IPL to keep a check on that. The moment you enter the nets and create bad habits, you lose the momentum and you lose batting form. It is very difficult to get it back in a tournament like the World Cup.”

In the India-Australia 5th ODI in Delhi, many experiments were carried out in the batting line up and players’ choice, Team India’s last international appearance before the World Cup. Kohli denied when asked if too much experimentation cost India the series after taking 2-0 lead.