Kohli backs off-colour Kuldeep, Kedar to come good during World Cup

India captain Virat Kohli defended the off-colour Kuldeep Yadav ahead of the World Cup and referred to him and Yuzvendra Chahal as the ‘two pillars’ of his team.

Kohli hailed Kuldeep as one of the pillars of the current Indian ODI side.   -  AP

The 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) turned out to be a nightmare for Kuldeep Yadav. Featuring for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), the chinaman bowler could manage to scalp only four wickets in nine games, before being dropped.

But India captain, Virat Kohli, defended the off-colour Kuldeep ahead of the World Cup and referred to him and Yuzvendra Chahal as the ‘two pillars’ of his team.

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“In hindsight if you look at it, for someone like a Kuldeep, who has had so much success, it is important to see a period when things don’t go your way and we are glad that it happened during the IPL and not during the World Cup,” Kohli said on Tuesday.

The India captain admitted that in between the IPL and the World Cup, Kuldeep has had time to work on his mistakes. “He had time to reflect, time to correct things and come into the World Cup even stronger. We know the skill set he possesses along with Chahal. They are really two pillars of our bowling line up. If you want to say that,” the 30-year-old said.

Even all-rounder Kedar Jadhav had a dismal outing in the IPL. The Chennai Super Kings player could only score 162 runs in 14 games, before being ruled out with an injury.

Jadhav struggled to have an impact with the bat for CSK during the IPL.   -  PTI

 

“Look at Kedar also. We understand the kind of pitches they got playing at home, we were not too worried. Kedar was in a good space. Yes, he was not getting runs. T20 is such a format when you don’t get a few [runs], you can go on like that for a few games. We are not worried about anyone’s head space. Everyone was very confident, they were enjoying their cricket. That’s about the only thing you require from them,” said Kohli, who is only second behind Sachin Tendulkar on most hundreds scored in ODI cricket.

With most of the players featuring in their first World Cup, the challenge will be immense, but Kohli looks confident. “A team that does well in the World Cup is the one that can handle the pressure. Secondly, try and be as normal as possible. Looking at the magnitude of the games, the team that stays more focused and more balanced, is the team that goes a long way in the tournament,” he said.

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Kohli also made it clear that with the team reaching UK early, it will be easier for the players to acclimatise.

“Of course, it’s always good to go to any place in advance. It does get rid of all nerves that you have in the side going into a tournament like the World Cup. That’s the most important thing I guess. White ball cricket, playing in England in an ICC tournament, the conditions are not that different or difficult compared to Test cricket. Handling pressure is the most important thing in the World Cup, and not necessarily the conditions,” he said.

From that point of view, it will be very helpful. “All the bowlers that are in the squad, even during the IPL, they were preparing themselves to be in the zone of playing 50 overs cricket. If you saw all the guys bowling, no one looked tired or fatigued after bowling four overs. They were very fresh, so the mindset or the ultimate goal at the back of their mind, was always to be fit for 50 over format and not necessarily let the fitness come down. That was communicated before the IPL started,” the captain informed.