The Indian captain said that the Indian team for World cup is more or less organized and can make wonders to win against South Africa in the upcoming one-day series. India went to the top in the ICC test rankings by winning the Wanderers test. He feels that Ajinkya Rahane is the worthy candidate to play at number 4 in the World cup at England 15 months later.
Kohli took a day off from the optional practice session for the upcoming first one-day at Durban, South Africa.
Speaking about Ajinkya Rahane’s ability to play in the fourth place in the batting line-up for the world cup, Kohli said,” We have explored many options in the last few months. We don’t have too many series and too much time left before the World Cup, so we want to explore all the options before the World Cup.”
Speaking to the reporters he added,” I had said earlier that Ajinkya Rahane would be looked at as a third opener but the situation can change because he has batted at no.4 in a World Cup before. These conditions are such that you get to play fast bowling throughout the Innings so he becomes a strong candidate for No.4.
“Other than him we have Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey.
We don’t want to be one dimensional. It depends on whose technique is more suited to what spot especially in that particular country. All options are open,” he said.
“The rest of the batting order is more or less sorted,” said the Indian skipper.
“Although the lower order is more or less sorted, the middle order is something we are still looking at. The combination is working well for us with Hardhik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni rotating and batting together.
“No.4 is something we have experimented with in the last couple of series. That is the only spot I can see that needs to be solidified otherwise the team looks pretty balanced,” he said about his efforts to sort out player at No.4.
“It s about who takes that one particular spot (number four). It’s not even spotted above and below. Guys who are given the opportunity need to capitalize and really string in performances that convince the management and the team very soon that that guy is meant to play at that spot for the team.
“I feel the core of players is more or less pretty strong at the moment. Obviously, changes can happen at any stage. You don’t know whether someone is going to be in form or not or what the team requires at certain stages,” he said.
Kohli said that the team has a good line up of players but experiments can be done to sort out the best.
“It is about finding players who fit a particular spot better in certain conditions. That will be our mindset. We will play the World Cup in England, which will be very different to what we get in India.
“People who might be doing well at home might not necessarily repeat their performances in England. It is very different. We will have to figure out which players game suits the team best in particular conditions that we play, at a particular spot.
“I don t think the quality of the team will be compromised in any way regardless of who takes the No.4 position because we have strong batsmen above and below to stabilize the innings,” said the skipper.
Talking about the series in question, the Indian skipper said that this would be a tough assignment for India’s leg- spinners who are playing in foreign conditions for the first time.
“We are one of the few teams, or probably the only team in world cricket, to be blessed with two wrist spinners, while Kedar Jadhav is doing the conventional job pretty well for the team. Wrist-spinners help you in any conditions in the world.
“Wrist-spinners can go for six an over but they will pick you three wickets as well, which is eventually the difference in the game, said Kohli.
India has a poor ODI record in South Africa, having won only won 5 out of 27 ODIs they have played against South Africa in South Africa, have never won a bilateral series here or indeed beaten South Africa at Durban in ODI cricket.
“We obviously want to win every series that we play.
Thinking of records or doing something that hasn’t been done before is not something you think of before achieving it. It just adds extra pressure, which is not needed.
“But yes, we took a lot of confidence from that last Test. As batsmen obviously, everyone is looking forward to stepping up. Like in the last Test how we believed in ourselves and ended up winning the Test. We have to carry the same belief throughout this series.”
Kohli said he is expecting more batting friendly pitches in England for the upcoming World cup.
“The wickets are going to be much better than the Test series, because of the format and this pitch looks pretty balanced I would say for a good game of cricket.”
When this Indian skipper was asked about the differences between leading in Test and ODI cricket, after being named the captain in ICC annual teams in both formats. Kohli said that there are excellent players available for the team able to play all formats.
“In ODI cricket you have to think more, at every moment.
In Test cricket, the game has a pattern, and it goes with a flow and a speed. So, you can figure out in which session when the momentum shifts. But in ODI cricket it can be over to over. So you have to always stay ahead of the game.
“One advantage as a batsman is I can think like one and figure out what must be going through their minds. You have to be on top of the game and do things proactively first rather than later.”
Before picking a player, the character is given more importance than skills, said Virat.
“For us as team management, and myself, we look at characters before we look at skill. We look at a guy who scored 40 when the team needed it the most. Compared to a guy who has scored runs but they might not have affected the state of the game that much.
“We look for game-changers, we look for guys who embrace pressure, we look for guys who want to be in difficult situations because in one-day cricket you don t have another day to come back and do something extra. You have to make decisions there and then,” he concluded.