IPL 2019: Kohli open to midway break for World Cup

RCB skipper Virat Kohli admits that his side never won the trophy for bad decision-making under pressure.

Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli at a practice session at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday.   -  PTI

 

Chennai Super Kings boasts of a near-perfect home record. The team has won 70 per cent of its home games making the M.A Chidambaram Stadium, a fortress. Facing CSK in Chennai can be a daunting task and Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli is ‘aware of it’.

When asked if RCB is the underdog against CSK in the inaugural fixture of the 12th season of the Indian Premier League, Kohli said, “Every team that comes to Chennai has to be considered an underdog because CSK has done so well at home. MS (M.S. Dhoni) knows exactly what he wants from his team in these conditions.

“We are going to be backing our skills and then find ways to come out on top. It’s very easy to be overawed by the support that CSK is going to get. In the IPL, people can get carried away by the support that a team like CSK gets at home but we have to focus on our basics,” he said on the eve of the opener.

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Kohli said the focus has shifted from the overseas players to the domestic players this season. “Not many people are aware of the strengths of some of the Indian guys we possess in our team. In the past, the focus was always been on getting strong overseas players. This time around, guys from the domestic circuit are really confident. They also have good skill sets. Tomorrow (Saturday) you will see the kind of bowling options and depth we carry. We want to continue this for the whole season, which is key to any team's success,” he explained.

Kohli rubbished claims that his team is dependent on his and AB de Villiers' batting. "It's a view from the outside. We give the responsibility and onus to all the players. Obviously, when I am batting well and I am the captain, I expect myself to perform for the team. Everyone in the team is waiting for an opportunity; they are not thinking that Kohli and ABD would go and score the runs. They are hungry and keen to perform.

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“This year, hopefully, the focus is not going to be on big names, it will be around how to stay in the game, get into tough situations and find ways to come on top. Basically, the focus will be on finding ways to win. We (senior players) take the responsibility, but I can assure that others are not going to sit back," he added.

While Kohli has done everything right at the helm of Team India, he is still without an IPL title. “Obviously, I want to win the IPL. I am doing what I am supposed to do. I try to win all the possible titles, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. We have to be practical about why we haven't won one. That boils down to bad decision making in pressure situations. If I think like people from outside, I can't even sustain five games. I would be sitting at home. I know people talk about it a lot and they like to grab opportunities to talk about these things. But I have a responsibility here and given a chance, as a captain, I would love to win the IPL for my team.

Virat Kohli enters the nets at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday.   -  PTI

 

“The fact that we played six semifinals means that we have been a side who are always in contention. If we make better decisions, we can go further than that. That's how I see things,” he said.

World Cup workload

With the ICC World Cup being played just 15 days after the IPL, Kohli had been vocal about managing the workload of the players.

The India skipper said he would opt to sit out of a couple of matches for RCB if needed to stay fit for the World Cup. "Yes, that’s a big possibility. Why not? Again, it’s a personal responsibility. No one is playing at a level where they need to be bound by any sort of restrictions. But we have told the players to be smart about how they feel on a particular day and then report to the physios.

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“It will boil down to giving information to the concerned people as soon as possible and then they will figure out a plan for that player. If he’s told not to play, then he has to respect that. As soon as you feel a niggle, the information has to be given and then they have to follow the plan.

“I am motivated to start tomorrow (Saturday) personally. I don't know how competitive or how relaxed Indian players are going to be during the IPL. Every professional knows how to maintain a balance.

"Eventually, you are playing for a franchise and they have trusted you to do a job for them. Till the time you play, you have to give 120 per cent. I don't believe in playing 75 per cent or 80 per cent. When I play, I am going to give my best. When I want to rest, I will just not play rather than just standing there. That's the mindset I carry,” he signed off.