The International Cricket Council (ICC) organised Captain’s Call where Indian skipper, Virat Kohli opened up on India’s next head coach, MS Dhoni as mentor, Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion, Yuzvendra Chahal’s omission and a lot more.
VIRAT KOHLI ON YUZVENDRA CHAHAL’S OMISSION : It was a challenging call but we decided to back Rahul Chahar for a reason, he has bowled amazingly well over the last couple of years in the IPL. A guy who bowls with pace, he did really well in Sri Lanka and against England at home as well, he was someone who bowled those difficult overs. We believe going on in this tournament the wicket are going to get slower and slower, so guys who bowl with pace will be able to trouble the batters as compared to those who give it air. Rahul definitely has those strengths naturally as a leg spinner. He is someone who always attacks the wickets, that is the factor that titled the thing in favour of him. Picking a World Cup is always tricky and you cannot always have everyone in that squad.
VIRAT KOHLI ON MS DHONI’S INCLUSION AS TEAM INDIA’S MENTOR : Massive experience. He is quite excited about getting back in this environment. He has always been a mentor for all of us, when we were starting our careers at the time he played and now he has the same opportunity to continue the same again. Especially for the younger guys who are in early stages of their career, just experience that he has gained over the years and having conversations with him about the game. Such practical inputs and such intricate details of where the game is going and where we can improve. He makes a difference when he is in a leadership role in any team, absolutely delighted to have him in this environment. He will certainly boost the morale of the team.
VIRAT KOHLI ON RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN’S INCLUSION : The one thing Ashwin has improved on is his bowling with courage. You have seen in the IPL over the years that he has bowled the difficult overs against the biggest hitters. He has not been shy to put the ball in the right areas, Ashwin has believed in his skillset we felt the way he was bowling with variations. He is a guy who has played a lot of international cricket. So, hence Ashwin has been rewarded for reviving his white-ball skills altogether. He was a regular feature for us back in the day but he fell off, finger spinners with accuracy have come back into the game. So we also need to evolve as a team.
VIRAT KOHLI ON INDIA-PAKISTAN : I can talk from personal experience. I have always approached this game like any other. I know there is a lot of hype created around this game, more so with tickets sales and the demands of tickets. Right now, the value of those tickets are ridiculously high. Apart from that, I don’t think we make anything extra out of this game. For us, it is just about a game of cricket that has to be played in the right way. From the fans point of view, it is definitely louder but from players point of view we stay professional and approach it in the normal way manner.
VIRAT KOHLI ON BHUVNESHWAR KUMAR : His economy rate continued to be top-notch in the IPL, he has always been known for this, and his experience comes to the fore. I think his experience and accuracy have always been priceless for the team. He is back to full fitness which augers really well with the new ball.
VIRAT KOHLI ON INDIA’S PAST TWO T20 WORLD CUP PERFORMANCES : It was quite frustrating to go out the way we did in the 2016 T20 World Cup but to a deserving side I thought, West Indies were the best team in that tournament, playing the best cricket as a team I felt and they thoroughly deserved to win that tournament. We had a heartbreak against Sri Lanka in the 2014 T20 World Cup finals as well, that tells us as far as our T20 cricket is concerned we have always had a strong side. Lots of youngsters from the IPL have now come into their roles and they are players who can change the game at any stage. So, we are quite confident heading into this World Cup, knowing we have a strong side and potentially we could go deep in the tournament and if we reach knockouts, go one step further.
VIRAT KOHLI ON TEAM INDIA’S NEXT HEAD COACH : Look I mean our goal is to win the World Cup. I have no idea regarding what is happening on the coach front, we have not had any detailed discussion with anyone. But winning the T20 World Cup is our goal like any other team. But I think what we have been able to create over the last 5-6 years is beyond titles and beyond tournaments. We have created a culture which I think will last for a long time where people want to be the best they can be when they enter the team, the fittest they can be. That culture we have driven with utmost passion and honesty which we hope will continue to be the case in the years to come. Winning an ICC title will definitely be a wonderful moment for all of us, it will be an amazing achievement. We are motivated to do so, we will give it our everything.
VIRAT KOHLI ON INDIA’S 2007 T20 WORLD CUP TRIUMPH : I would not say that the 2007 T20 World Cup win was unexpected but no one really knew about the tournament, after the title win the emergence of IPL was something that has changed the game completely. But that World Cup we fondly remember watching, keenly watching that young team achieving things at the world stage and as I said, we understood the impact of that win few years down the line when T20 cricket became as big as it has. For a young team to achieve what they did was very special, it was inspirational. It gave me more belief that I could perform at the highest level at such a young age.
India haven’t made any big changes to their squad despite need and talks, Shardul Thakur has been added to the main 15 and Axar Patel is moved to reserves that’s the only change in the squad. India will commence their World Cup campaign playing Pakistan on the 24th of October. T20 World Cup Round 1 fixtures will begin today where teams for next 5 days will fight their way through to the super 12.