Trying to take toss out of equation: Virat Kohli on team mantra ahead of T20I World Cup

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Virat Kohli is eager to take more risks with an objective to transform the team into an “unfazed” unit. (File Photo)

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Shared News| Published: September 23, 2019 11:31:06 am
Despite a crushing nine-wicket defeat against South Africa in the third and final T20I, Virat Kohli is eager to take more risks with an objective to transform the team into an “unfazed” unit. After winning the toss, Kohli elected to bat first at a venue that is known to favour teams chasing, and the Indian captain said it was an attempt to negate the dependence on the outcome of the toss.

“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 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 basic idea: trying to take the toss out of the equation as a side,” the skipper added.

“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 further stated.

Kohli’s decision to bat first backfired despite India scoring 54/1 at the end of the powerplay overs. A middle-over collapse saw the Men In Blue put up just 134/9 on the board despite a deep batting order, and South Africa chased it down easily.

“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.”

Admitting 134 was not a good total, Kohli defended his bowlers saying that the target was too low to defend.

“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,” he said.

“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, during the presentation ceremony and the post-match media conference, Kohli said he didn’t want the team to be in a comfort zone. He also acknowledged that the South Africans executed their plan 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.”

Stuck to our plans: De Kock

South African skipper Quinton de Kock was thrilled with the way his boys bounced back in the three-match T20I series. With the first match being washed out, the Proteas lost the second T20I by seven wickets in Mohali.

India were in a formidable position at the end of the powerplay before the Proteas staged a remarkable comeback.

“They got off to a great start but I am very impressed with the way the guys fought back, they read the conditions very well, they stuck to their plans, they just kept up the pressure on India,” de Kock said at the post-match media conference.

The skipper top-scored with a blazing 52-ball 79 to engineer his team’s nine-wicket victory. But it was not that easy for the visiting batsmen initially. “They put a lot of pressure on us in the first four overs, kept it very tight, didn’t give us a lot of bad balls, ball was swinging. We just stuck to our guns upfront, just tried to soak up the pressure,” he said.

Playing in his first game of the series, left-arm fast medium bowler Beuran Hendricks returned impressive figures of 2/14 in his four-over spell. “Beuran, in our T20 local league back home, he bowled really well in that tournament. Coming into this game, he has worked really hard on his skills. He deserved the chance and he took it with both hands,” de Kock said.

He was also pleased with the performance of left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin, who picked up 2/19 in three overs, saying he mixed up his deliveries cleverly.

Vice-captain Rassie van der Dussen, seated next to de Kock, said they have been able to send out a message to the hosts before the Test series. “They did not have enough runs to put us under pressure and Quinton is a world-class player, he has played here so many times, he never even gave them a sniff. We came here today with a goal to win and to send a strong message. The captain led from the front,” van der Dussen said.

Van der Dussen also praised the likes of Temba Bavuma and Fortuin. “Temba has come in and has obviously done really well in these two games. He has played a lot of cricket for South Africa so the stage was never too big for him. In the last year or two, he has really improved his white ball cricket, in T20s as well as one-day cricket,” he said.

Regarding Fortuin, he said, “Bjorn is a bowler for the big occasions, we have seen so many times back home but may be not enough international crowd have seen that.”

Asked if Rishab Pant’s was a well-thought-out dismissal by Fortuin, van der Dussen said it was. “It was a clear plan against Pant, we know when he tries to look for boundaries he goes for long-on, looks for slog sweep. So when he tries to attack, the spinners always look to take him on. Bjorn executed that perfectly,” he said

-with inputs from PTI