* India likely to continue with Ravichandran Ashwin, which means Umesh Yadav will once again be left out.
* The Indian captain has credited Bangladesh for their progress in the international arena.
* Kohli has reconfirmed that there is no complacency in the Indian dressing room.
Going into the second semi-final of this edition of ICC Champions Trophy, India are undoubtedly the clear favourites against the impressive Bangladesh, the team which has raised a lot of eyeballs with their performances of late. However, like any other professional side, Indian team does not have any sort of complacency and in his pre-match press conference, Virat Kohli reconfirmed that.
He also praised the Bangladesh team and its administrators for the rapid progress this team has made in recent years. Kohli said that his team is well aware of the fact that Bangladesh are a quality side and on their day they can beat any team in the world. So, the Indian team will have their game plans ready for this important fixture.
Here is what Kohli had to say in the presser.
Q. Virat, do you think India’s experience of playing such big matches and the ability to handle pressure should hold them in good stead ahead of this game-day opponent?
Virat Kohli (VK): Yeah, we’ve been in these kinds of games before quite a few times, but there are no guarantees in this sport. As we’ve seen in the late stages, as well, a lot of teams have surprised the opposition, and we’re certainly not taking anything for granted. We will use whatever momentum we’ve gained in this tournament to execute what we want to. We’re not going to go according to past results and what we’ve done in the past tournaments. Going into a big game like this, we’re going to treat it as how we treated the last game, and our mindset does not differ.
Q. Virat, the manner in which Umesh bowled during the practice match, it was really impressive in Bangladesh, but then they have Tamim, Imrul, and Shakib, so any kind of thoughts in your mind about whether to persist with Ashwin or bring Umesh back into the bat match where he was really fiery?
VK: No, I’d say we gave a lot of people chances in the practice games, and he did bowl well in that game, so does not mean that you necessarily play someone who’s done well against a particular opposition in a practice game. I think Ashwin was brilliant in the last game, and I don’t see any good reason to change that. The team played really well. It was a complete performance, and I certainly don’t think that there’s any need to change anything.
Q. The Indian batting, almost all the batsmen, they’ve scored runs, they’ve scored big. Yuvraj is playing his 300th ODI. That’s a huge achievement for him, as well?
VK: Yeah, it is. I was asked the wrong question last time.
Q. Today is the right time.
VK: Yeah, I will repeat the same answer. His contribution to cricket has been outstanding. He’s been a total match winner for India, won so many big tournaments in big cities, and this is just a testimony to the kind of talent he possesses. You obviously need to have all those things in place to be able to play 300 games for India, and I congratulate him. I wish him all the very best, and hopefully, he can play a lot more for us and get in those match-winning performances all over again, and I hope tomorrow is a special one for him.
Q. And the units, the batting units?
VK: Yeah, everyone is feeling well, everyone is playing well.
Q. The top order has done so well that the middle-middle and the low-middle order has not sort of been needed so far. Is that a concern at all, or it’s fair enough, you’ve not needed them so no problem?
VK: No, that’s not a concern. Obviously, as a batsman you want to finish off games, so you’re not necessarily going to get out thinking my middle order hasn’t got any game time. So given an opportunity, everyone would like to finish games convincingly, and as I said, everyone is batting well. In the practice games everyone has got a hit, and we know Kedar and Hardik are playing really well at the moment, so we’re not bothered at all. Rather they’re looking for an opportunity if the team is in a bit of trouble, I’m sure those two guys are going to step up and take the team through a long international, as well. Those guys are actually waiting for opportunities, and that’s a great mindset to have. They’re not sitting comfortable thinking, oh, these guys are going to do the job. They’re actually prepared if a crisis situation comes in. We want to be the match winners, and that’s the energy they’re creating.
Q. The last few years, Bangladesh won matches, it was supposed to be a surprising win. Now the last couple of years they’ve been rather consistent. Do you think they’re probably ready to challenge with more frequency?
VK: They already are. It’s no surprise anymore to anyone that they are really well, and they’ve really improved their cricket, and it’s a credit to their setup and the kind of players they have now who are taking more responsibility, and they are a very dangerous side on their day, and everyone realizes that. You know, no one takes any opposition for granted, and Bangladesh have taken huge strides. They themselves said that in the last couple years. In the World Cup 2015, they were really, really good. Yeah, you can never take any opposition for granted. I would say that, and credit goes to them for doing what they are doing with their cricket over the last couple of years.
Q. How do you rate Bangladesh, your semi-final opponent?
VK: As I said, I mean, they are in the top eight sides in the world, so obviously they are playing really good cricket and they are doing a lot of things right to be in that position, and as I said, they have cricketers who are skilled, who are committed to play for Bangladesh and play with a lot of passion, and they’re really keen to win a lot of games at this level, and that shows in their attitude, and even the other day I thought they were outstanding the way they applied themselves and chased the total down and they showed a lot of composure and patience, and that is always a sign of a side that is mature now, that knows how to win matches from difficult situations. So yeah, they are a very competitive side.
Q. Virat, the World Cup quarterfinals in 2015, there was a lot of acrimony between the teams; there were so many controversies. Do you think the teams have moved on?
VK: It’s been 24 months. I seriously don’t think that anyone is thinking about that game. We’ve had so many matches against each other since then, and we are certainly not going out to prove a point to anyone. We just want to play good cricket as a side. Our opposition could be anyone. We’re not really thinking about what’s happened in the past or things that go on at the international level. We’re certainly not thinking about any of that.
Q. Is there any injury concern because I saw Rohit Sharma limping and working out with the physio.
VK: No, he’s fit. He’s fine to play.
Courtesy: ICC Media