Auckland: India skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday insisted that his team is not thinking of avenging the World Cup loss against New Zealand in the upcoming series which starts Friday with the first T20I at the Eden Park.
It were New Zealand who dumped India out of the 2019 World Cup with a thrilling win the semi-final in Manchester last July.
“Not really. Even if you want to think of revenge these guys are so nice that you can’t get into that zone,” said Kohli while addressing reporters.
“It’s all about being competitive on the field. They are one side that has set the right example for teams to carry themselves on the international stage. We were actually happy for them when they qualified for World Cup finals. When you have lost you have to look at the larger picture. So nothing about revenge,” he added.
India had to leave for New Zealand the very next day of the third and final ODI against Australia which they won in Bengaluru. And Kohli feels the schedule needs to be a little better, especially when they are travelling abroad.
“It’s getting closer and closer to landing at the stadium straight. That how compressed the gap has become. This kind of travelling to a place that is seven and a half hours ahead of IST is difficult to adjust immediately. Hopefully, this will be taken into consideration in the future,” said Kohli.
“But this is the year of the World Cup and every T20 is important. So we can’t lose our focus,” he added.
The Indian skipper also made it clear that K.L. Rahul will continue to bat at No. 5 in ODIs while in T20Is, he will bat at the top.
“In the ODIs, we will stick with Rajkot and let KL Rahul express himself at 5. In T20Is the dynamics change and let KL bat at the top. He’s doing well with gloves and that has given us more stability and we are looking to continue with him for a while,” the Indian skipper said.
“I know there will be a lot of talk about what happens to other players but for us, it’s about what the team requires and the best balance of the side,” he added.
Kohli also acknowledged the danger which the Kane Williamson-led side can pose at home, he said they will take the confidence from the previous victories over the Kiwis. The last time India travelled to New Zealand, they had won the ODI series 4-1. However, they suffered a 1-2 defeat in the three-match T20I series.
“In their conditions, they have always been very, very strong and you know what they bring to the table when playing in New Zealand. They know their conditions well and they understand the angles of the field and how the pitches play,” Kohli said.
“They will have slight home advantage but having said that, we have played here a lot. Last time we came here we won both the series that we played. So, we are going to take that confidence into the series.
Nathan Lyon hits back at Ahmedabad pitch critics: Read his statement
Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon said he doesn’t understand the criticism over the pitch that was used for the Pink-ball Test between India and England in Ahmedabad, saying he is “all in” for surfaces that assist spinners. Lyon said he was up all night watching the Test and enjoyed the spinners dominating the proceedings at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Nathan Lyon was critical of the critics, saying the world “starts crying” only when the pitch offers assistance to spinners but nobody says anything when teams get bowled out cheaply in seaming conditions.
Lyon’s comments come after several former cricketers, especially from England, have been crying foul about the Ahmedabad pitch. Former England captains Michael Vaughan, Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss have been severely critical of the Motera surface even as India and England’s players played down the role of the pitch for the early finish to the Pink-ball Test.
As many as 27 of the 30 wickets that fell went to spinners as the Pink-ball Test ended in less than 2 days, becoming the shortest completed Test since 1935. England were bundled out for 112 and 81 as India went on to clinch a 10-wicket win and seal a 2-1 lead in the 4-Test series at home.
“We play on seaming wickets around the world and get bowled out for 47, 60. Nobody ever says a thing,” Lyon told AAP.
“But as soon as it starts spinning, everyone in the world seems to start crying about it. I don’t get it. I’m all for it, it was entertaining.
“I was up all night watching it. It was absolutely brilliant. I’m thinking about bringing that curator out to the SCG,” he added.
Lyon, who began his career as a curator himself, said he was baffled to see England play 4 seamers on the Ahmedabad pitch. Notably, Joe Root’s men played Jack Leach as their only spinner while India played 3 in R Ashwin, Axar Patel and Washington Sundar.
Captain Root stepped up for England, picking up a 5-wicket haul in the first innings but Ashwin and Axar shared 18 wickets between them over the 2 days of the Test match.
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