Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], Sept. 16 (ANI): India skipper Virat Kohli has insisted that they will not treat the ODI series against Australia any differently and will play with the same intensity as they play against other oppositions.
Speaking on the eve of series opener against Australia to be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Kohli said, “I don’t think we need to see any series differently. As I mentioned in Sri Lanka as well, your preparations should matter more than who you are playing against.”
“You will assess the strength and weaknesses of the teams but you cannot increase or decrease you intensity according to who you are playing against. That’s not being fair to the sport and that’s something, we as a team, do not believe is. So, we like prepare the same way and play with same intensity regardless of who we are playing against,” he added.
India’s home advantage will relatively reduce in the limited-overs versions, which promises another stiff contest between the sides.
India, though still start as the favourite. It will head into a stretch of limited-overs cricket at home having swept Sri Lanka across formats recently, and the team is gradually becoming a ruthless unit with players for every condition and situation.
That’s evident from India’s tremendous success in ODIs over the last two years; the last time India lost a bilateral ODI series was in early 2016 when it was beaten 4-1 by Australia Down Under.
The Indian skipper also hinted that Ajinkya Rahane will be opening the batting with Rohit Sharma in absence of Shikhar Dhawan, who has been released from the squad to look after his ill wife.
“It’s up to the player to take up a versatile position what the team requires him to do. I am not saying it’s easy. See Ajinkya Rahane plays in middle order in ODIs and Tests and then he has opened a lot in the ODIs are well,” said Kohli.
“He also felt that he found it difficult to switch. Now we are backing Rahane at the top of the order so he knows his plans are clear. Once you get that balance with giving that player more chances then he gets more confident of his role in the team,” he added.
Speaking about his personal achievements, the 28-year-old, who has so far scored 47 international hundreds, said that he never plays to achieve the three-figure mark.
“I don’t play for the three-figure mark that’s why I end up crossing it more times because I am not thinking about it. I don’t put myself under pressure in terms of achieving a landmark,” he said.
“For me what’s most important is to win the game for the team. Even if I am 98 not out I don’t mind, even if I am 99 not out I don’t mind as long as we win the game. In that process things end up happening because you want to stay till the end and if there is enough on the board you end up achieving those landmarks,” he added.
Kohli already has 30 ODI centuries in just 186 matches.
The Indian skipper further said that if a batsman is looking to bat in the same position across formats it will be difficult for the team to find the balance.
“If you look to bat in the same position in all formats, then it can get very difficult for the team to find the right balance including that player. I think players need to adapt to what the team requirement is more often,” he said.
“For example, I have opened in T20 cricket and I would do that any day if there is a guy who is in the middle order (who is going to strengthen the middle order). I should be flexible enough to do that. I have batted at four and top of the order as well,” he added.
Australia have returned to India for the first time since their fiery and controversial Border-Gavaskar series earlier this year, which India won 2-1 and which ended with the home side’s skipper Virat Kohli declaring some of his friendships with the Australian players had been irreparably damaged.
Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.
India squad (first three matches): Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami. (ANI)
This is published unedited from the ANI feed.