The dreams of a whitewash was dashed, but India skipper Virat Kohli decided to take positives from his team’s 21-run defeat against Australia. On Thursday, India lost the plot in the middle and allowed the Aussies a win in the series.
Interacting with the scribes after the game, Kohli felt that this experience will help young guns — Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav — in the longer run. “When we had all gotten out and Hardik and Kedar were playing, this was the ideal situation for them to understand how the game can be taken till the end. They did a really good job with the partnership,” Kohli said, adding that there are a few positives that could be taken from the game.
“The wicket was such that one team had to bat better than the other. Australia's bowling, in the end, was very good. They got breakthroughs at the right times and that stopped our momentum, especially when Kedar and Hardik were batting well. If they had put on 40-50 more, it would have been ideal for us,” Kohli said, quickly adding, “Things don’t go your way all the time. We have been playing really well today as well.”
While he was happy with his side's batting, the India captain felt that the bowling could have been better. “The opposition played a much better game today and you have to take out your positives and move on,” Kohli said.
'HARDIK IS NOT JUST A SLOGGER'
He also defended the decision to promote Pandya to No. 4. “For now, the plan to promote Hardik was to go after the spinner. (The idea was to) probably push the spinner out of the attack and get the quicks to come earlier into the game. He did that in the last game and he did it this time too, and batted nicely,” Virat said, making it clear that it might be a ‘regular option in the future’.
“Hardik has got a solid defence and he has got technique. He is not just a slogger. If he gains more confidence and if he can understand how to take the game till the end, he might be a regular at that spot. We are not predictable and are willing to do different things to put the opposition out,” said Kohli.
As he spoke, there were questions on whether Jadhav was being considered just as a part-time bowler, and the captain said, “The part-timer mentality works for Kedar. It is not all-round mentality. When a guy bowls in decent areas, he has got nothing to lose. If that can be conveyed in the first few overs, they can end up bowling three or four more overs. If a proper set batsman goes after you, more or less they give you the breakthrough.”
“The regular bowlers are always looking for consistency and they are thinking from a bowler’s point of view. That is why the mindset is a bit more reluctant but calculated, compared to a part-timer. Kedar thrives on that and we never put too much pressure on him. He gave us more than we expected and that is a good thing and we feel he is a thinking cricketer,” the skipper pointed.
'YOU HAVE TO TEST BENCH STRENGTH'
With the series already in pocket, India had rested Kuldeep Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the fourth game, and Kohli felt it was necessary. “You have to try the guys out in some stage. You have to try out the bench strength. You need to give those guys some game time. Umesh and Shami bowled well. Umesh picked up four wickets. The runs might have been a bit more than what he would have expected but we only lost by 20-odd runs. We did not bat that badly. The wicket was good. The bowlers bowled well and credit goes to them. In hindsight, if you lose, I am not that kind who thinks that I should not have done this. If it does not work, you make another plan and go for it and try execute it well. We have no doubts about why we rested both of them,” he said.
“He (David Warner) is a quality player for Australia in the ODI format. He was known as T20 specialist. He solidified his Test game. He really wanted to make a mark in ODIs. In the last 18 months, his game has come around very well,” Kohli said about the Aussie opener, who played his 100th ODI in Bengaluru.
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