CHENNAI: Clad in the India blue, Virat Kohli looked at peace with himself. Eight days before the World Cup opener against Pakistan in what could possibly be an era-defining tournament for the India skipper, he was in chatty form at the ICC captains’ media day.
The 32-year-old, who will become one of the very few to have skippered a side in all the available ICC events (both World Cups, Champions Trophy as well as World Test Championship), touched upon India’s goals, the return of MS Dhoni to the dressing room, the background noise with respect to coaching changes and R Ashwin’s recall among other things.
On the changing of coaches and goal of winning World Cup with Ravi Shastri
Don’t know what’s happening on that front to be honest. Our ultimate goal, like any other side, is to win the World Cup. But what we have been able to create over the last five years goes beyond just titles and tournaments. We have gone about it (creating the culture) with a passion and honesty. Yeah, winning the World Cup will be a wonderful achievement and will be giving it our all.
On the presence of Dhoni
He has got massive experience. He is quite excited to be back in this environment. He has always been a mentor for all of us when we were starting our careers. His eye for details and advice will help improve the game by one or two per cent. The younger guys who are here will benefit (from having him). We are absolutely delighted to have him. His presence will be a morale booster and increase the confidence that we already have.
On the return of R Ashwin
He is bowling with a lot of courage while bowling in white ball cricket. He bowls difficult overs to the power hitters and is not shy to put the ball in the right areas. He has been rewarded for reviving his white ball bowling. Both (Ravindra) Jadeja and he have been performing well for us and it’s good to see finger spinners back (there was a time when India heavily backed the wrist-spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal).
On the exclusion of Yuzvendra Chahal
It was a challenging call. We decided to back Rahul Chahar as he is someone who bowls with pace. The wickets in the UAE we think will become slower so it’s good to have someone who bowls with that extra pace and attack the stumps. He bowls in areas that get wickets. That’s what tipped the scales in Rahul’s favour. Not taking anything away from Chahal.
On Bhuvneshwar Kumar and a lack of seam movement
No, not concerned. His economy rate is still top notch and is well known for that. (The skills he has) is under-rated, you know the accuracy to keep landing the ball in the same area. Whatever little assistance is there with the new ball... he will find it. He’s also back to full fitness. Just a few days ago, we saw what we was all about in the Sunrisers (Hyderabad) match against RCB. Containing the likes of ABD (AB de Villiers) at the death overs...
On the India-Pakistan game
I can only speak from personal experience. I have always treated it as just another game. There is hype around it but more so with respect to ticket sales and demand. Right now, the value for those tickets are ridiculously high... the environment, you can say, is different from the outside. But, overall, we just try to be as professional as we can.