Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Is India's Cricket World Cup Squad Finalised? Here's What Kohli, Shastri Reveal

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Kristopher Love | 16 November, 2018, 11:13

Mumbai: After Test series defeats in South Africa and England, Australia tour remains India's only opportunity to make a mark overseas in a year that coach Ravi Shastri had described as "defining period for Indian cricket".

Addressing reporters before leaving for Australia for the two-month long tour where the two sides will clash in three Twenty20 Internationals, four Tests and three ODIs, Kohli on a question regarding the verbal spat said they will not initiate it but will surely retaliate. We don't have too many games now. Secondly, if that happens, we need to understand how to refresh and focus on the next match as a new game rather than letting it build on or pile on.

Kohli also seemed happy with the fitness of his team which is an important part to perform well in Australia. "About saying yes all the time, that's the most freakish thing".

"We are always feeling good about the fact that we have a good bowling attack but our batsmen have to step up as well". There were a lot of things that we sat down and figured out after England as to what went wrong. People have to take more ownership especially the batsmen. That's where we want guys to be fearless.

"These are very personal things that happen within in a team environment".

The captain reiterated that importance of lower-order scoring runs. He's one guy who I can speak to and get an honest opinion.

"I have made more changes to my game listening to him than anyone in the past".

Talking specifics about the batting unit, apart from wholesome improvement, Kohli felt that there is room for improvement particularly in contributions from the lower order. I don't think anyone has said no to me more than him in Indian cricket. "It made the difference in the England series".

Talking about the contribution and the self-belief that Shastri instilled in everybody, Kohli said, "the contribution that he has brought to the table ever since we started building this team is making people believe that they belong at this level and I can vouch for it". We batted well in patches.

"At a time when we were going through a hard phase in England in 2014 - he has been the most important factor in helping me get out of my shell".

Former Australian cricket team captain Steve Waugh has said that he is not sure whether the current Indian team led by skipper Virat Kohli is better than the ones he has played against during his times in the Australian team.

India play no further ODIs for the rest of this year, but they end 2018 joint-third among the teams that have featured the most players.

"From the last time we went there (to Australia), fitness levels of the bowlers are surely up, which is the most important factor in Australia".