On The Oval memories: The only thing special memory I have of The Oval are the two games of are the seven match series we had where Robin had us across the line and against the West Indies in the Champions Trophy where Shikhar (Dhawan) got hundred and we chased the total down. Apart from that, I haven’t played too many games at The Oval.
On approach against South Africa: To me every game is same. You win some you lose some. I never thought that the Pakistan match was the biggest game of my captaincy career. I don’t think this one is either. For us as a team, it’s a very important game and so is the same for South Africa as well. The game has a lot to offer for both teams and both teams will play with 120% commitment and with full passion. It will be a great game to watch for all the viewers and the players to be a part of it. You get to test how good you are in situations like these. As a cricketer, honestly, for me I crave games like these. You want to be part of games as important as this one and then if you perform and your team gets over the line. It improves you as a cricketer.
Team for SA-clash: We don’t have anyone who is not fit to play, everyone is fit and available for selection and is up to take the field tomorrow.
On Yuvraj Singh’s milestone: 300 ODIs is a magnificent achievement. You have to be super skilled and super talented to be able to play so many games for the country. And no one has ever had any doubts over the abilities that he possess to win games and he has done it in big tournaments. Tomorrow is a big match, so he might just want to use that as an extra motivation for him to be able to leave a mark on the cricketing world. He has achieved tremendous things for India, two man of the tournaments in World Cups, India winning both is a very special achievement. Personally in his life as well, he has fought with bigger battles, it is a proof of a character he possess and temperament that he has. I wish him all the best for tomorrow and many more games that he will play for India. Hopefully he can turn his important (300th) game for us.
On Ravichandran Ashwin’s return: There are all kind of possibilities and we have looked at the last game and where we can make a bit of change. We have already discussed those things and everything is possible. We can have any kind of possible combinations for us tomorrow.
On virtual quarterfinal against South Africa: I think you need to have a good balance of being competitive and passionate about the game. But at the same time not being over-excited. I think the team that treats the game as normal as possible is the team in better position of getting a right result. Lot of times teams come in and want to do something special things but end up messing up the game in important situations. The team that can have most composure, I would say to sum it up, will have a better chance of winning the game tomorrow. So, that’s what I have experience in the past that you tend to get over-excited then you commit errors that could cost the team.
Is it possible to look at a 50-over game and play first 20 overs as 20-20 game?: That could be a possibility in future depending on the conditions you are playing in. In this tournament, every team is taking their time initially and getting in. Middle overs are something that teams are looking to target and we doing something different. We are looking to capitalising the last ten overs better than anyone. So if you end up doing both those phases well, you probably end up getting a few more runs then you also of getting as a team. There is a thin line, if you try to get 20 extra and lose a set batsman at that point of time, you end up getting 20 less. In future, everything is possible looking at the conditions, if the wicket is good enough to go out and play aggressive cricket from ball one. I’m sure that teams are going to start looking at first 20 as a big opportunity and then may be thinking the last 10 overs are the toughest to score because of an extra fielder allowed in the outer circle. The trend I have seen is that every team is try to get in first and then explode in the middle and the end.
On things to improve after the defeat against Sri Lanka: I don’t think that there is much to improve, we convincingly won the two warm-up matches and have scored 320 plus in both the games. I have noticed this that our bowling could have been better but the opponents batted well. As a captain you can’t do much. At one point, we thought that Bangladesh are out from the game but that one partnership took them over the line. In this tournament, you can’t guarantee think of a win, any team can defeat the other because of one team. One partnership can change the direction of the match.
On AB de Villiers form and threat he posses against India: I actually empathise with him. I go through this this a lot as well. When you have set standards for yourself and the people get shocked. He is by far the most committed cricketer I have seen around and the reason is he tries to do things for his team. I know AB quite well and I know the reason behind of his mindset of him playing like that. At the same time, when he is in the right frame of mind and if it is his day, you have to find a way of getting him out quickly.