IPL Will Have ‘No Influence’ on World Cup Selection: Virat Kohli

The skipper rubbished the notion that India will prioritise experimenting over winning the ODI series vs Australia.

Updated02 Mar 2019, 04:19 AM IST
4 min read

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.

“No, I don’t see the IPL having any influence on World Cup selection. I think that will be very, very radical sort of analysis.”
Virat Kohli

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.

“We need to have a solid team. Before we head into the IPL, we need to be absolutely clear of what team we want for the World Cup. I don’t see anything changing on how the IPL goes for any of the players.”
Virat Kohli

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.

“We will have to work out the batting combination to try and give game-time to the guys we want to. But, I don’t see the bowling combination changing.”
Virat Kohli

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.”

KL Rahul hit fluent innings of 50 and 47 in the two T20Is against Australia upon his return to the Indian XI after the ‘Koffee’ controversy.
KL Rahul hit fluent innings of 50 and 47 in the two T20Is against Australia upon his return to the Indian XI after the ‘Koffee’ controversy.
(Photo: AP)

“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.

“It will be interesting to see what happens in the final World Cup squad. Definitely, he has made a strong case for himself. It’s good he’s in great nick and hopefully he can carry it forward.
Virat Kohli

‘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.”

“From outside, it’s easy to say, they don’t have the heart to play. We always want to win games for India. If we only had to experiment, we would have got out for 50 as everybody would have got out trying to hit sixes.”
Virat Kohli

“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.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published: 01 Mar 2019, 10:23 AM IST
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