Skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri addressed a press conference Tuesday before leaving for England for the World Cup. The question of who will be India’s No.4 batsman remains unanswered. At the press conference, the Indian skipper backed his players to do well in World Cup irrespective of their performances in recently concluded Indian Premier League 2019.
On India vs Pakistan clash: “If we keep focusing individually on every team, we won’t be able to focus on our campaign. Preparations won’t be any different, we have to just focus on our quality and intensity irrespective of the opposition. That’s what we will be looking to do here,” Kohli said.
On the World Cup schedule: “It’s going to be challenging, but the good thing is that there’s a decent gap between every game. Players won’t be burnt out. We’ll always have time to regroup. We have four tough games straight up and that will set the tone for us. We don’t have any room for complacency, and that’s why it’s the World Cup. You have to arrive on the day, match-ready. This is the challenge.” Kohli said.
On RCB’s dismal show in IPL 2019: “After losing six games, we literally came to a point where we told,’this has not happened to anyone else.’ You have to accept what is. Try and live in the moment. That’s what I experienced in the first half. The situation was different in the second half.” Kohli said.
On Dhoni’s relation with Kohli: “His relation with Kohli is great, he has shown that he is still the best in this format of the game. What was good to see in the IPL was the way he was moving and hitting the ball,” Shastri said.
On improvising when English conditions come into play: “Our mantra is to be flexible in the last 10 overs, pitches are going to be flat but overcast conditions will also have to be taken into consideration. It will also depend from venue to venue, so you have to be prepared for that and be flexible,” said Shastri.
On the round-robin format: “Certainly the most challenging World Cup considering the format of the tournament, also if you look at all the teams, they are really close. Even someone like Afghanistan have made so much progress since 2015. Every game we will have to play to the best of our potential, it’s a different challenge which everyone will have to adapt to,” said Kohli.
On Kuldeep Yadav’s poor form in IPL: “Someone like Kuldeep has had such success, he needs to see the other side also. Glad it happened during the IPL than the World Cup. He is one of the pillars along with Chahal for our bowling. Same for Jadhav, he wasn’t playing in the best of pitches and T20 is such a format. I am sure they are in a good headspace, in World Cup it’s more about handling the pressure and ensuring we stay focussed,” said Kohli.
— ANI (@ANI) 21 May 2019
Jadhav’s shoulder injury was a cause of concern before the World Cup. A part-time bowler and middle-order batsman, Jadhav was declared fit on Monday. The 34-year-old was injured during the IPL.
India will take on New Zealand and Bangladesh in warm-up games on May 25 and May 28 respectively. The semi-finalists of World Cup 2015 start off their campaign against South Africa on June 5 at The Rose Bowl, Southampton.
India will have Rishabh Pant, Ambati Rayudu and Navdeep Saini on standby, while Deepak Chahar, Avesh Khan and Khaleel Ahmed will travel with the team as net bowlers.
India squad for World Cup 2019:
Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami.