Sorted with our WC 11: Kohli

Indian skipper says team management is clear about India’s World Cup playing combination

New Delhi Mar 15:  Even though the idea of experimenting with options available for the United Kingdom bound flight for the ICC World Cup which starts from May 30th in cricket’s birthplace didn’t really clicked out for India in the recently concluded five-match One Day series against Australia. Indian skipper Virat Kohli feels that the lost series has helped him to jerk off all the confusions about the team combination by giving him a clear picture of India’s playing eleven at the marquee event.

Speaking after India’s defeat in the final game on Wednesday at his home ground Feroz Shah Kotla, which cost India’s its first home series defeat since October 2015 local lad Kohli said, “As a side combination wise we are very sorted for the World Cup. Depending on the conditions there (in England) one can see max only one change in the World Cup side. But we are very clear about the eleven that we are going to play with,” he said.

In the course of the series, India tried various combinations, whether it was the hit and trial method to choose between Ambati Rayudu, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant for the still to figure number four spot in the playing eleven or experimenting with the successful wrist spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav with Jadeja as the other preferable option because of his ability to go handy with the bat too. None of it really worked out for India as the moves backfired and India paid its price by losing series against a depleted Australian side that was touring with some of their premier names.

However, the Indian skipper said he won’t excuse experiments for the harsh result in home turf and believes that the side is well balanced and good to go and compete at the World Cup.

“We definitely will not look our experiments as an excuse for the series defeat. Anyone who plays for India is expected to come and deliver that performance. Even if we go with the same eleven (the World Cup playing 11) and don’t perform accordingly then one can’t say that we picked the wrong players. So I think what we need to breakdown is the decisions what we didn’t take right.”

“As a side, we are very balanced. Hardik will also get back into the mix. With his inclusion in the side, we get more bowling options along with the fact that he adds depth to our batting unit. So we know where we have to go as a combination. Our eleven is very clear in our mind; it’s just that we need to take good decisions in pressure situations to go far in the World Cup. So this is the thing that we want to focus on and now there is no confusion about combination or team. We are very clear,” he added.

Quizzed about the idea behind opting for changes in the last series before World Cup, Indian captain said that he wanted to test his side in pressure situations and see how the players respond but there was no noticeable resistance both by Indian batsmen and bowlers.

While the bowlers failed to restrict run flow in the slog overs in Mohali, it was a combined batting failure in the series decider at Delhi where India could never really recovered after the early departure of ‘King Kohli’.

“We expect the guys to take responsibility and pressure and hence we expose guys to these kinds of pressure situations where a series is on the line. We expected someone to step up. It happens sometimes and sometimes not but unless you try you wouldn’t know. So that’s exactly what we wanted to do in these games, he answered.

However, on being asked about the readiness of Pant and Rayudu to come and play responsible knock at pressure situation during World Cup, the world number one batsman said that he cannot comment about who should take pressure till the time squad is announced.

“I can’t comment on that in the World Cup who is going to take pressure or they should be or they shouldn’t be. One has to wait until the side is announced. You can’t literally speak about any of the combinations of the team that is going to go to the World Cup unless the side is announced.”

“But having said that being any International game, whoever plays, whoever gets the chance to play, we expect that guy to take responsibility and pressure.”

The skipper also credited Australia for the historic comeback in the hard-fought series win and referred it as the better unit in the due course of series.

“The fact that they came and win here reflects that they played better than us. They deserve to win the last three games. In the first two games, we showed composure. But then we lost three, against the team that has been more passionate and more energetic than us in pressure moments. And they have grabbed the crucial moments in the game better than us and they deserve to win.”

“The moment they sensed that they had a foot in the door they made sure that they let us close the door in the series. They deserve credit because they are a very young and inexperienced side compared to us they showed more heart and confidence in the precious situations and they believed that they can play better cricket in crunch moments. ”

“The win is good for Australian side as well. They have won a big series like this against India at home. It’s good for their confidence.”

Dismissing the talks about the on-field conditions going against India in the last three games especially in Mohali. The skipper said, “We can’t get a breakdown by our own conditions. It’s just that they (Australia) were more composed in pressure moments and more positive and brave in precious situations. And hence they won those important moments in the game.”

“And when you capitalize on probably every important moment that comes in the game as a side it gets very difficult to go past that side. The way they batted in Mohali after Maxwell got out chasing 130 odd in 13 overs was an outstanding effort and even here (in Delhi) and in Ranchi as well that constant pressure on us throughout and the areas that they bowl really made us play those shots that we played. So the credit has to be given where it is due and we certainly were not up to the mark and they were and hence as I said the deserving winners.”

He also shrugged off the thought that it affected India’s mindset in any which way, “None of the guys in the changing room are panicking or not feeling down after this defeat because we know the things that we were wanting to do in these last three games.”

“Us as a side we feel pretty balanced and it’s just in the pressure moments, they showed more composure than us,” he said.