Indian captain Virat Kohli(AP)
Indian captain Virat Kohli(AP)

India vs South Africa: After loss in Bengaluru, Virat Kohli reveals mantra for T20 World Cup, signals change in attitude

134 was not a good score on the surface, admitted Kohli but refused to be harsh on his bowlers after the big nine-wicket drubbing.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON SEP 23, 2019 12:52 PM IST

Different plans were in place, there were strategies for specific players, Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and despite Chinnaswamy being a field-first ground, he decided to bat first. He wanted to challenge his batting order, he wanted to press on the accelerator from the word go and keep attacking all the way through. These plans have been put in order keeping in mind the T20 World Cup next year, but it did not quite work out and despite a strong start, the batting order melted away and South Africa cruised home with 9 wickets in the bag.

However, this did not deter the skipper and after the match, he said that the side was willing to take risks in order to win games.

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“Look, we will have to take risks. Even when you want to win a game of cricket you have to take risks, so nothing is a given, nothing is a guarantee before you start playing,” Kohli said at the post-match press conference here late on Sunday.

“I think as a team if we are willing to get out of our comfort zone a lot more, then we will be unfazed with what happens at the toss. That’s our basis idea: trying to take the toss out of the equation as a side.” His long batting line-up gives him the leeway to experiment but India still lost the series’ final game by nine wickets to settle for a 1-1 stalemate.

“That’s why we are trying to play the best combination we can, (with) people batting till nine. So that if you bat first or bowl first, you know we are in a good position,” Kohli said.

“Mentally, if we put ourselves in a situation where we are ready to do anything rather than wanting to do one thing, we will be in a better position as a side to capitalise on any situation that we are in.

“Unless you do that, unless you start taking those risks, you are always going to be put under somewhere or the other. We want to make sure that we iron all those out before we head into the World Cup.” No team had ever chosen to bat first in six previous T20Is at this ground, but Kohli wants his team to also become stronger in defending totals.

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134 was not a good score on this surface, admitted Kohli but refused to be harsh on his bowlers after the big nine-wicket drubbing.

“Bowlers coming out of their comfort zone mean at least they get 160 (to defend). You can’t defend 130, we didn’t get it right with the bat and you can’t be too harsh on the bowlers in a T20 game with this kind of total when there is a bit of dew as well.

“They should not be analysed or criticised on defending this low total. We didn’t have enough runs on the board, so the bowlers are always under pressure knowing that one or two overs can take the game away from you.

“But I think they have done decently well (in the series overall), we will have to be patient with the combination we are playing at the moment. We will have to strengthen one or two things.” At the toss, in the presentation as well as the post-match media conference, Kohli said he doesn’t want his team to be in a comfort zone.

“... But quickly we realised the pitch didn’t allow us to keep doing that. So I think the kind of start we got, 63 for one after that, I think we could have reassessed, thing about 170 rather than 200.” He acknowledged the South Africans executed their plans better.

“Not to take anything away from South Africa, they hit the right areas, they bowled really well, understood the pitch. So it was a combination of good bowling, not great decision-making but, as I said, these kinds of games will keep happening,” Kohli said.

“As long as we are wanting to come out of our comfort zone and putting ourselves in situations which could be the case in a big tournament.” The focus now shifts to the three-match Test series and Kohli expressed confidence, which stemmed more so from the bowling attack at his disposal.

“Our Test team is as strong as it gets in world cricket, especially in our conditions we are one of the best teams. We know exactly what we need to do,” he said.

“The kind of bowling attack that we have is always going to be challenging, but at the same time, you have to respect all opposition and make sure that you are playing consistent, solid cricket in all the sessions.”

(With agency inputs)

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