Kohli: Prithvi a talented player, want him to follow instincts

Kohli wants Shaw to take a leaf out of Mayank Agarwal’s performance in Australia in 2018-19 when he hit back to back half-centuries in Melbourne and Sydney.

Virat Kohli said the team management would refrain from curbing Shaw’s natural stroke-play.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

There is bound to be pressure on the not-too-experienced opening pair of Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shah against the moving ball on the greenish track at Basin Reserve.

India captain Virat Kohli felt the-fairly-experienced-Mayank understood his game in red-ball cricket and the disciplined mode of batting. 

Prithvi, he revealed, had been given the freedom to play his own game. “He is a talented player and we want him to follow his instincts. Look, these guys have no baggage of having failed overseas in the past. A bunch of new guys can play the kind of fearless cricket that can give the whole team confidence.”

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  The wind blowing across the Basin Reserve would play a massive role in the outcome, said Kohli. “We have to decide who bowls into the wind, who bowls with it. If the breeze is blowing across the stadium, then who is more effective bowling the in-swingers or the out-swingers.”

The wind would impact the batsmen too, Kohli said, “The ball might not travel in the air a lot more when you are hitting against the wind. So you need to be prepared to run a lot more. It’s something we learnt the last time.”

Kohli elaborated, “And if you have a light bat, then you are in trouble. You need to be firm with your stance and where your bat is, because it can swing around. I experienced it the last time.” 

On the New Zealand team, Kohli said, “They are intense and very, very fit guys and they can keep going all day and test your patience, really skilled with what they do as both bowlers and batsmen and are brilliant fielders. So they don’t give you a lot within the game to sort of bank on or pounce on. They could bounce back from the 0-3 reverse in Australia.”

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Talking about the Test championship, Kohli noted, “The Test Championship, as an ICC tournament, should be right up there. All the other tournaments, for me, start under that. This is going to be the biggest of them all. And every team wants to make it to the final at Lord’s.”

Even in these conditions, Kohli spoke about the advantages of having a world class spinner in the attack. India was close to finalising the eleven, he said. From what one gathered, R. Ashwin and Rishabh Pant are likely to play. 

Workload management

How long can Virat Kohli continue playing all three formats considering India’s hectic schedule right through the year?

The Indian skipper answered, “I think it’s been eight or nine years that I have been playing almost 300 days a year with the travelling and practice sessions. And the intensity is right up there all the time. So it does take a lot out of you.”

He added, “It’s not that easy. Then being captain and having intensity in practice session and discussing the game, so it does take a toll on you. So I am not in that space at the moment. The periodic breaks for me seem to work pretty okay.”

Kohli said, “At a time when the body doesn’t respond as well, maybe when I am 34 or 35, you might have a different conversation at that stage. But for the next 2-3 years, I have no issues at all. Can keep going on with the same intensity.”

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