With India ready to face England in the first T20I on Tuesday, skipper Virat Kohli addressed a press conference in which he said he would want his side to play fearless cricket. India, who recently won the two-match T20I series against Ireland, will be travelling to England for a three T20Is, three ODIs and five Test match series. Speaking to reporters on Monday, Kohli stressed that the pressure will be on England to perform.
“We all are feeling relaxed and having a good time. We want to play competitive cricket against England. It is pleasurable to beat a good team in their own conditions. England visited India back during the 2016-17 tour, and we won the trophy at that time. England would want to win it back in their home. We are going to play fearless cricket. We have nothing to lose and we just want to improve as a team,” the right-hand batsman said.
Speaking about the England side, Kohli praised Jos Buttler, who displayed his form in the limited overs in the series against Australia last month.
“I am not surprised how Jos (Buttler) has performed. He got more opportunities this time to play, coming up at top of the order and he showed off his skill set. He grabbed his chances and it was lovely to watch him,” the 29-year old said.
Kohli further went on to credit IPL for helping Buttler in gaining more confidence and said that it will make the series more interesting against the opposition. “Chris (Woakes) and Moeen (Ali) also played in the IPL this year. It will make the tour more interesting, as the players share good relations with each other now. Earlier, England players used to get a little experience in IPL. But after this season, we know each other better. I am glad that the rigid mindset was kept on the side and players were allowed to come and it did great for them, it will take the standard of the game up in the tour,” Kohli said.
Speaking about the tough conditions in England, Kohli said that the skies look rather clear which will suit his team. “The skies look clear. We have not played much in wet and damp conditions. But it looks different this time. Speaking to some of the players, who played county cricket – Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma, they had a great time, and learnt a lot, which will help us,” he said.
Kohli further addressed speculations regarding the change in the batting order and said that the team will be more flexible in their approach. “Well, we certainly are going to be more flexible. We want everyone to have a go. We will throw in a few surprises here and there. In T20Is, because it is not such a long innings, we can afford to do that,” he said.
“At the start of any tour, we are as excited as the opposition. Especially, when you are playing a tough side such as England, it is a chance to test yourself. It gives an opportunity to test fringe players. We are going to try a few players, we want to test their skills, especially in limited over crickets,” he said.
On talking about key takeaways from the long England tour, he said, “The focus obviously will be on the way we play our cricket and the attitude we carry on throughout the tour. Of course, no one can guarantee results. But if we can carry on the winning mentality, I will be really proud as a captain,” he said.
“We did the same in South Africa and we managed to bounce back after losing two matches. If we can carry on the winning mentality in England, we will learn from it. There are a few things we want to try out in ODIs as well on the tour, and hence the next phase is really important before going for the World Cup,” Kohli said.