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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

India vs England: Virat Kohli says 2014 failure not on his mind ahead of Edgbaston opener

Virat Kohli said clarity was the key for every member of the Indian cricket team going into the five-Test series against England starting at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

cricket Updated: Aug 01, 2018 09:20 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, Birmingham
India's Virat Kohli during a press conference at Edgbaston, Birmingham on July 31, 2018.
India's Virat Kohli during a press conference at Edgbaston, Birmingham on July 31, 2018. (Action Images via Reuters)

The build-up to India’s Test series against England has been almost entirely about how Virat Kohli will handle the swing bowling of James Anderson, who dismissed him four of the nine times he fell to pace in a poor 2014 Test series. (FULL IND v ENG COVERAGE) (LIVE STREAMING)

The India skipper said clarity was the key for every member of the team going into the five-Test series starting at Edgbaston on Wednesday, denying the prospect facing England’s record wicket-taker again was playing in his mind.

“It’s pretty simple. You must be focused on what you need to do. As a batsman, focus on plans you need to take to the middle and follow your instinct. You have to have total confidence and belief in your ability. That is something that gives you clarity when you go out to bat. 

Despite doing well in all other countries, Kohli is under pressure to make amends after scoring only 134 runs in 10 innings four years ago. He dismissed any notion that he needs to prove himself in England.

ALSO READ | Virat Kohli and co. brace for trial by fire as England pace test awaits

“I am not in a frame of mind to prove myself in any country. I just want to perform for the team. I want to score runs for the team and take Indian cricket forward,” he told a news conference on Tuesday.

“What gives me clarity is to believe in my game. It boils down to belief, otherwise even on a flat pitch in India, you will get out even if the ball is doing nothing. You must believe you can score a big hundred on a green wicket as well.

“Over the last few years I have been more comfortable in my head space and how I think about the game, my own game as well. I am pretty confident of my ability and that is what I am going to focus on.”

He acknowledged the Indian team management’s focus was over the struggling opener Shikhar Dhawan and No 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, and whether to pick chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav ahead of the experienced off-spinner R Ashwin, who has a poor record away from home.

ALSO READ | We are only side who can beat England in England - Ravindra Jadeja

England named leg-spinner Adil Rashid as the lone spinner in the eleven, leaving out off-spinner Moeen Ali, suggesting the pitch will aid seamers.

Kohli said the eleven would only be finalized later on Tuesday and team balance would be the priority. “Along with the management you have to sit and take a call. It’s all your gut feeling, if five people on the table believe that it is how you got to go, you go with it. That is why we have been pushing forward as a team.

“Once we make them, whether they come off or not, we don’t look at them because they have been taken at the best interests of the team at that particular point in time. There is total honesty and ownership all around the squad.”

Happy with the team preparation going into the first Test, Kohli said it didn’t matter whether India, the No 1 ranked team, were seen as favourites or under dogs. “If you are an underdog doesn’t mean the pressure will be there only on the opposition. Or if you are favourites, the underdog will come out and just be fearless. It is a balance that is required and we have played enough cricket to understand the things that happen on the field.”

First Published: Jul 31, 2018 20:11 IST

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