Indians make a statement of intent

Skipper praises his side's never-say-die attitude
Last Updated 16 January 2017, 18:52 IST

The one-day international series against England may be just one match old but this new Indian team under Virat Kohli’s captaincy has delivered a potential statement -- they can to turn any corner.

The heist by Kohli and Kedar Jadhav at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Sunday night might seem like a miracle but if one were to scan the results of the Indian team since the Delhiite took charge in the longer version, then enough evidence presents that this team is capable of surmounting such challenges.

In Kohli’s 22 games as the captain of the Test team, the Indians have won 14 times, lost just twice and drawn six to take a huge lead at the top of the ICC rankings. They are unbeaten in their 18 matches, vanquishing Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand and England in the process.

While in some matches the Indians have led from the beginning, in some they were put in a spot but in most of those games they found personnel who put their hands up and holed the team out of trouble. Whenever the top-order failed, the lower order came up with match-winning efforts and when the batsmen fired big, the bowlers capitalised to roll over oppositions.

Even during fielding, there were instances when the opposition batsmen seemed to have got a measure of things but the bowlers hardly sulked, relying on patience and perseverance to win the battle in the end. While Jadhav, on whose outstanding counter-attacking 76-ball 122 India chased down England’s 350 after being reduced to 63/4 in 11.5 overs, isn't part of the Test set-up, Kohli felt the team now believes it can win from any situation, be it the longer or shorter version.

“All I can say is even in the Test series we believed from any situation we could come back and win the Test match,” said Kohli, who himself slammed a cracking 105-ball 122 in the back-to-wall chase. “This was another case of the same thing — all the 11 guys believing that we can win from any situation. When we were batting out there, obviously we didn’t know. That’s the kind of belief we have in the change room that yes we might be able to achieve something special today.

“That’s the only way you can win in team sport. If you believe you can win from any situation, it’s the only way it is going to happen. I think this was another scenario of our team believing that we can win more than the opposition.”

Another feature of this Indian set-up is guys coming in and grabbing their chances. Jadhav is 31 years old but he’s just cutting his teeth in international cricket, having played just 13 ODIs and five T20Is since making his debut in Nov 2014. Kohli felt the current crop is fearless and the best way to prove one’s talent is by performing on the field without inhibition.

“Young guys in the team haven’t played too many games. I think one thing we keep talking in the change room is the number of games doesn’t matter, it’s how you use your brain in a tough situation in the middle. There is no hard and fast rule of understanding the game over a number of games. You can get a great understating of the game after 10 one-dayers. It doesn’t have to be 60, 70 or 80.”

While Kohli’s men have proven themselves in the longer version, they need more such exhibitions in the shorter format to be called a complete force.
DH News Service

(Published 16 January 2017, 18:52 IST)

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