IPL Will Have ‘No Influence’ on World Cup Selection: Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli has said that IPL performances will have “no influence” on the selection of India’s World Cup squad, calling the speculation a “very, very radical analysis”.
With 12-13 slots more or less locked, India are expected to zero in on the few remaining berths for their 15-man roster for the ICC World Cup 2019 in England during the five-match ODI series against Australia, which kicks off in Hyderabad on Saturday, 2 March.
Speaking to the media ahead of the contest on Friday, 1 March, the Indian captain refuted the IPL claims.
Talks have been in the air that the IPL season, starting on 23 March, could be a possible shoot-out between Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant to ascertain the second wicketkeeper’s slot, but Kohli insisted that one good – or bad – IPL will not make much of a difference to any World Cup hopeful.
Setting the record straight, Kohli added: “If one or two players do not have a good IPL season, it doesn't mean that they are out of the picture for the World Cup. Those things are not going to matter.”
Game-Time for Pant, but Not Over a Bowler
Kohli is keen to give Pant a proper run in the XI against Australia – but not at the cost of fielding one lesser bowler.
“We will have to think about the combinations. I don't think playing a bowler less is a good idea because with the extra fielder in till the 40th over, it becomes very difficult to sort of get a few guys to chip in with a few overs here and there,” he said.
Rahul Inching Closer to WC Ticket?
The Indian captain also appeared to drop a hint around KL Rahul’s case for the World Cup.
Rahul showed promising signs in the two T20Is with scores of 50 and 47, both fluent efforts from the top of the order.
“It augurs really well. KL, when he plays well, is operating at a different level I feel,” Kohli said about the 26-year-old, who has returned to the lineup for the first time since his controversial appearance on a TV chat show in January.
“We have seen him do that in the IPL last year and in patches over the last season we played as a team.”
“It's very difficult to find a consistent player, who can play good cricketing shots and still win you games at a strike-rate of over 140 or 150. He has all the shots and has a solid game as well,” Kohli added.
‘Playing to Win the Series’
The notion that the team might be willing to experiment at the cost of winning the series irritated Kohli.
“We are playing to win the series, or else I’ll leave the ball to hit the stumps,” was the skipper’s response to a question around the lines of priorities, the sarcasm in his voice tough to miss.
Kohli reiterated his stand that India lost the T20I series simply because Australia were the better side.
“We could not win the T20 series because in the first match, we didn't play good cricket and in the second match, Australia played better than us. I think it's important you understand why we lost.”
“If you see it negatively, you'll only be able to extract negative things but if you look at it positively, you'll be able to take positive things,” he concluded.