The last ODI series before the World Cup might not have gone as planned for the Indians. They lost to Australia 3-2. However, skipper Virat Kohli is happy with the experimentation the team did ahead of the World Cup in England.
He now wants the boys to go into the Indian Premier League (IPL) and enjoy themselves before the showpiece event, starting May 30.
“What we spoke in the dressing room was go and enjoy in the IPL these two months. Must enjoy ourselves and play because we enjoy the game.
“Being on the road for so long does take a toll, but when there is a long season, you can reflect on it.
“I think it has been a hectic season, but we are proud of how we have played. Guys have come around and shown character.
“All of us deserve to go into the IPL and enjoy ourselves. Everything will be taken over by the World Cup when it comes to the tournament,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation on Wednesday.
“We have discussed workload and asked the players to be smart and inform the franchises. All the workload will be monitored and the players will take the opportunity to take breaks.
“We will be committed to play the IPL but the World Cup comes once in four years. Everyone is committed to the World Cup and want to be a part of the bus,” he said.
Commenting on the loss in the last series before the World Cup, Kohli said: “The fact that Australia came and won here means it was a hard fought series. They played better and won.
“We have been playing good cricket and doesn’t feel like a loss. Nobody is panicking because we know the things we were looking to do in the last three games. They just showed more composure in pressure situation.”
“I think this is exactly how we played in Australia. We were more brave than them in their situation. We just went out and expressed ourselves.
“When they saw they had a foot on the door, they showed more heart and deserved to win as they are a young team. Good for their confidence to do well in India. We didn’t play as well as they did,” he added.
While dew did play a major role in this series, Kohli said that one cannot complain about one’s home conditions.
“We cant be weighed down by our own conditions. They were more positive and brave and so they won those important moments.
“It gets difficult to go past those sides. Here and Ranchi there was constant pressure on us. Credit has to be given where due,” he said with a smile.
The team did experiment with the playing XI keeping in mind the World Cup and Kohli said he would not use that as an excuse for the loss in the ODI series.
“We won’t give trying players an excuse. We expect every player who comes to play for India must do well. Conditions based changes will be there in England, but we know the XI we wish to play.
“We have a balanced side as Hardik Pandya will return to the team. We know where we need to go as a team. Must take better decisions in tough conditions,” the Indian skipper said.
“I can’t comment on who will take pressure in the World Cup. We must wait till the side is announced. Cannot speak on the combinations. Whoever gets a chance to play must take responsibility and pressure,” he pointed out.
While everyone has spoken about India being one of the favourites to win the tournament, Kohli clarified that nobody is a favourite in a World Cup.
“Every team in the World Cup is a threat. Any team on a roll can be defeated in the big matches by a team that is brave and expressive on that day.
“No team is favourites going into the World Cup. Any team is dangerous. Everyone will look to take positive mindset into the showpiece event,” he added.
India skipper Virat Kohli blamed poor death overs bowling for the 35-run loss to Australia in the fifth and final One-Day International (ODI), here on Wednesday.
The Australians rode a century from in-from opener Usman Khawaja and a half-century by Peter Handscomb to post 272/9 before dismissing the hosts for 237 runs to claim the match and the series.
“Yeah, we thought it was a gettable target. They got away from us a little bit at the end, and 15-20 more than we thought we were going to concede. One or two overs can make a whole lot of difference. But if you look at the overall series, Australia played with more passion, hunger and heart and they deserved to win,” Kohli said after the match.
“They were brave in pressure situations compared with us, especially in the last 3 games the way they handled the pressure, they really deserved to win,” he said.
Admitting that Australia were the better team in the five-match series, Kohli revealed the World Cup squad is more or less set.
“The guys will reflect on the series quite a bit. It’s been a long season, and we can be proud of the cricket we have played over the last few months. Both teams played with equal intensity, but the deserving side won in the end as I said before. We are more or less sorted with what we want to do,” he said.
“The guys just need to get their roles for the World Cup and expect them to stand up and deliver. Just one spot in the side needs some discussion. The last three games were all about giving the fringe guys some chances, but that’s not an excuse at all. You don’t need any motivation for the World Cup. All the sides will enjoy the tournament. Full stadiums. We just want to relive the big moments and do well in the World Cup.”