As if the conference room being choc-a-bloc wasn’t enough to make Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri get stuffy, air-conditioning failure made it stuffier during their media interaction. Still, the sparks didn’t fly as has been a regular feature in a big media interaction of India captain and the coach during their long partnership. Excerpts:
On expectations from the World Cup
Kohli: We feel we go into the World Cup feeling very balanced, very strong as a side. All the players who are in the squad are in great form and are playing really well.
From that point of view, we expect ourselves to play the best cricket that we can and that’s the only focus we will have. That will mean we will have to focus on the process and will be able to do that. That is the only expectation everyone has [from the team].
On reaching England two weeks ahead of India’s opener
Kohli: It’s always good to go to any place in advance. It does get rid of all nerves that you have in the side going into a tournament like the World Cup.
That’s the most important thing I guess… Handling pressure is the most important thing in the World Cup, and not necessarily the conditions. From that point of view, it will be very helpful.
On Kuldeep, Jadhav and Vijay Shankar’s patchy form in IPL
Kohli: Someone like Kuldeep, who has had so much success, it is important to see a period when things don’t go your way and we are glad that it happened during the IPL and not the World Cup.
So, he had time to reflect, time to correct things and come into the World Cup even stronger… Look, Kedar also.
We understand the kind of pitches they got for the World Cup, we were not too worried. Kedar was looking in good space. Yes, he was not getting runs.
T20 is such a format when you don’t get a few, you can go on like that for a few games. We are not worried about anyone’s head space.
On missing an ICC trophy in the cabinet during his stint at the helm of India’s team
Shastri: It is an opportunity. If you look at this team what they have done over the five years, they have played brilliant cricket.
And as Virat said, it is about striving for that consistency and not playing any differently because it is a World Cup.
World Cup might be a stage but that stage is to be enjoyed. The most important thing is to get out there and enjoy the World Cup. If you play to potential, the Cup might be here.
On whether India’s bowlers can defend high totals on flat pitches
Shastri: I would think so because if you look at it, there are no new bowlers there. It is an experienced unit, these guys have been together for the last 4-5 years, they have bowled as a unit together.
They have accomplished what we set out to do in Test match cricket when it came to bowling as an unit and the endeavour will be the same in this World Cup where each one complements each other and keeps up the pressure right through those 50 overs.