Indian batting mainstay Virat Kohli today said the Asia Cup starting here tomorrow is a perfect platform to assess the team's strengths, weaknesses and its current standing on the global stage ahead of the big-ticket World T20 next month.
India locks horns with Bangladesh in the tournament opener of the Asia Cup T20 here tomorrow, beginning its final phase of preparations for next month's World T20 to be held in India.
“Going into the World Cup as I said, the conditions are going to be similar and we will probably be playing all these oppositions at some stage. So, as many teams as we play before the World Cup, it gives us a great opportunity to assess what the teams are like, what the balance is like, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and where we stand compared to them. You can see it (Asia Cup) as a whole package before the World Cup,” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference here.
India begins the tournament on the back of some very impressive outings in the slam-bang format against Australia and Sri Lanka.
“The Asia Cup has always been a challenging tournament, it's like a mini event as far as the sub-continental teams are concerned. It's an opportunity to test yourself as I said against the best teams in the sub-continent. It's a competitive tournament with a different opposition with a different set of skills testing you all the time.”
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's availability in the opening game of the tournament remains doubtful after he suffered a muscle spasm during a training session. This has prompted the BCCI to rush Parthiv Patel as a back-up. Kohli did not clarify on whether Dhoni will sit out tomorrow's match.
“With Parthiv coming in, we will have to sit down and see if that situation comes where he has to play. We will then have to sort out a combination, the best possible for the team in terms of the batting order but, as of now, we cannot. Unless we have a decision we cannot sit down and make a concrete plan.”
“Obviously a discussion will take place, it will happen sometime today during the practice session as to what needs to be done if that situation arises. Yeah, obviously, it's going to be different from what we have been playing with till now. We just have to wait and see how the situation pans out,” Kohli said.
Emboldened by the recent success at home and away in the T20 format, Dhoni recently said that the team is in auto-pilot mode, and Kohli looked at the remark very positively.
“MS was spot on because I think it comes from the fact that we play a lot of T20 cricket. In IPL, we get so many games to play and execute our skills, so you keep getting better every season.
“If you see the number of games being played by players in the IPL, the numbers are very high, so everyone knows what needs to be done and at what stage of the game in that tournament. I think even MS is not required to put in so much thought on what needs to be done because the players are experienced. That takes the load off. So that's why he said the team is in auto pilot mode. I think that's what he meant.
“That everyone knows what needs to be done at what stage throughout the 20 overs, be it batting, bowling or in the field. I think it's a very good atmosphere the team is in right now. Everyone is very sure what needs to be done.”