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Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team promises much more with smart bowling

Captain Virat Kohli is proud of how bowlers have handled tough situations as the Indian cricket team prepares to host Sri Lanka

india vs new zealand 2017 Updated: Nov 08, 2017 15:44 IST
Sandip Sikdar
India’s bowlers have been key to their recent successes.
India’s bowlers have been key to their recent successes.(REUTERS)

To say that this Indian cricket team is on a roll would be an understatement. The Virat Kohli-led outfit has flattened any kind of competition they have faced in the last one-and-a-half years or probably more.

Since the 2016 Indian Premier League (IPL), India have won away tours in Zimbabwe, West Indies, Sri Lanka and have trampled every opposition at home, be it England, Bangladesh, Australia or New Zealand twice over.

They were the favourites going into the ICC Champions Trophy only to be usurped by an always unpredictable Pakistan in the final. Some may argue that they have not faced real competition or haven’t won abroad, but that argument can be countered.

Sure India had the added advantage of playing most of their cricket at home in the last 18 months but in the same time they also defeated teams like England, Australia and New Zealand, the last two being the 2015 World Cup finalists.

READ | Virat Kohli stays on top; Shikhar Dhawan, Yuzvendra Chahal rise in T20I rankings

This Indian team’s strength of character also showed in the smart cricket played on Tuesday to edge out New Zealand.

Batting, India’s traditional bastion, fell on the day but the way young bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah --- later announced as Man-of-the-Match as well as Man-of-the-Series --- and Yuzvendra Chahal used their intellect to choke the run flow and earn wickets was truly remarkable.

“It feels wonderful to have this bunch of bowlers. They deserve a lot more credit than they usually get. The game has moved forward as a batsman dominated game, the shorter format. When the bowlers step up in deciding games, that becomes the difference,” Kohli said after the match.

“Our bowlers have shown better nerves in tough situations than the opposition for a while now. That is something which makes me very proud. They are also pleased with their efforts and execution of plans. We are quite confident as a team and as a bowling unit. Hats off to them.”

READ | Pakistan secure top spot in Twenty20 Internationals after India beat New Zealand

With a brief break of only nine days, India will next face Sri Lanka in three Tests, three ODIs and three T20s, starting November 16.

One of the most experienced coaches in the world, Dav Whatmore, who led Sri Lanka to their 1996 World Cup crown, told Hindustan Times on Tuesday that the Kohli-Shastri juggernaut will keeping rolling and that the islanders will not be able to stop them. India had won every game on their tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year.

“We have created good habits in the last few months. It is important to carry them forward. We have players who have confidence in their ability which gives me, as a captain, a lot of confidence,” said Kohli.

India’s real Test is likely to be on the tour of South Africa, comprising three Tests, six ODIs and three T20s in January-February 2018. But for now India will savour what has been an amazing run so far. With New Zealand done and dusted, India will now eagerly await Sri Lanka.