We could play six bowlers, mulls Kohli

HAVING A BALL India’s Rishabh Pant plays football during a training session in Manchester on Monday. AP/PTI

Along with Sachin Tendulkar and M S Dhoni, skipper Virat Kohli is the only other Indian player to have been part of World Cup semifinal on three occasions. While Tendulkar made the last four in 1996, 2003 and 2011, Dhoni did so in 2011, 2015 and now in 2019. Since his debut World Cup in 2011, Kohli has been in semis in all the three quadrennial events. The Indian skipper spoke of his unique feat and other issues. Excerpts.

On three semifinal appearances: The (semifinal) win in Mohali (against Pakistan) was my first World Cup and we made it to the final and playing at home and the whole atmosphere was brilliant. So, getting to experience that for me as a youngster was something magnificent. 2015, I was more of an established player and not being able to get the team across the line was obviously very disappointing for all of us.

This time around, because the format has been different, and we understand the tournament has been long, guys have put in a lot of effort day in day out and to realise we have achieved the first goal that we wanted to which was to qualify for the semis, that gives you an extra boost of energy.

On chances of playing with six bowlers: It is quite possible. Yes, we played with five bowling options because it gives us more depth in batting and mentioning the toss factor as well, if you are chasing a big total, then you need a bit more depth in batting. So yes, we played with five. We are up to reviewing that. It’s open for a discussion because we need to be very balanced with what we take into the field.

On the mood in the side and change in travel plans: We are very happy because it was only one hour (to Manchester) compared to three hours (to Birmingham) in the bus. The mood is great. Everyone is very relaxed, very confident. And look, all the teams worked hard to get to these moments and now whoever plays better on the day we know that things are as simple or as complicated as that. So, we are all looking forward to it. It’s been a long tournament, it’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of intense games, so yeah, we are really, really happy that we have made it to the semis and now there’s the only opportunity that lies in front of us and everyone is very excited for it.

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