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Rishabh Pant can’t be isolated to such an extent that he gets nervous on the field: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli, who was rested during the limited-overs series against Bangladesh last month, resumes white-ball captaincy duties when the Indian team faces the Windies in the first T20I in Hyderabad on Friday.

By: Express News Service | Hyderabad | Updated: December 6, 2019 7:40:32 am
Rishabh Pant, Virat Kohli on Rishabh Pant, india vs west indies, ind vs wi, india cricket, india match, india vs west indies test, india cricket photos, india west indies photo Virat Kohli resumes white-ball captaincy duties when the Indian team faces the Windies in the first T20I in Hyderabad on Friday. (PTI)

A day before the T20-leg of the limited-over series against the West Indies, kicking off in Hyderabad, India skipper Virat Kohli defended under-fire wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, besides admitting India’s flaws in this format in a media interaction on Thursday. Excerpts.

On Rishabh Pant

“If he misses a chance or something, people can’t shout. It’s not respectful because no player would like that to happen. You are playing in your own country and you should get support rather than always thinking what mistake is this guy going to make. No one wants to be in that position. He can’t be isolated to such an extent that he gets nervous on the field. If you want him to do well and win matches for India all of us collectively should make him feel like he belongs and we are here to do things for him rather than against him. As Rohit (Sharma) said recently, he needs to be left alone, he is a match-winner. Once he comes good, you will see a very different version of him, which we have seen in the IPL already because he is free and relaxed there. He feels that there is a lot more respect when it comes to his abilities and what he can achieve for the team. I think he needs to feel that a bit more.”

Rishabh Pant, Virat Kohli on Rishabh Pant, india vs west indies, ind vs wi, india cricket, india match, india vs west indies test, india cricket photos, india west indies photo Pant was booed by spectators during the India-Bangladesh T20 series.

On Pant opening

“Not really. In IPL you have eight teams and a lot more players who can play at a lot more positions. You have to figure out who are the best guys to do the job at a particular position.”

On India’s flaws in T20

“I don’t think we have been very good while batting first in T20 cricket and defending low totals as well. So those are two things we really need to focus on. Having said that T20 is a format where you experiment a lot more things than ODI and Test cricket. I think from that point of view you take a lot more risk in terms of what you want. As a team you give a lot of chances to youngsters. So you can’t really pinpoint where we stand. Ranking is actually the reflection of the strongest eleven but we haven’t really played the strongest eleven together for many games.”

On rankings (India is ranked 5th)

“For us it’s about figuring out who are the players that can make a transition into international cricket and this a good format to see them. Now heading into the World Cup rankings are going to be irrelevant because in T20 anyone can win on the day. We will probably be playing as close to the eleven that we want in the World Cup for the remainder of the T20 games we have leading upto the World Cup.”

On challenges

“It’s always good to have challenges as a team and to win a global tournament you need to have all bases covered. T20 is all about being flexible. There won’t be a set pattern. We have to be unpredictable.”

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On Kuldeep and Chahal

“Having two wrist spinners is big advantage when you are playing in Australia in big fields. There might be some games where both might play together. But in T20 cricket, it’s all about balance and predominantly we see one guy playing with Jadeja and Washy (Sundar) because it gives us all kinds of variety in the bowling attack. You need to have six bowling options in T20 cricket. That’s the basic rule. You can’t go with five expecting everyone to bowl four good overs. I think that is the balance we need to create.”

On Ravindra Jadeja

“He is probably in the best batting form of his life. This is really his best phase as an all-rounder and we want to maximise that.”

On Shami’s comeback (in T20s)

“He is coming back and he is bowling really well. If he gets into a rhythm and specifically works on what’s required in T20 cricket then he will be very, very useful in places like Australia, especially with his ability to pick wickets with the new ball. He has enough pace to execute yorkers.”

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