India will have to find the right balance in the ODI side and get their “act together” before the World Cup next year, said skipper Virat Kohli after his team’s 1-2 loss in the three-match series.
“These kind of games will tell us what we need to improve upon for the World Cup. We need to have a good balance in the side, and we need to get our act right before the World Cup. We can’t rely on one skill, and we need to do well in all departments,” said Kohli after the eight-wicket defeat in the series decider on Tuesday.
India are considered to be a top-heavy batting side which is lacking solidity in the middle-order, something that was evident in third and final ODI after the fall of Rohit Sharma (2), Shikhar Dhawan (44) and Virat Kohli (71).
India were 156 for four in the 31st over but could only manage 100 runs in the last 20 overs.
“We were never up to the mark as far as runs were concerned. We had 25-30 runs too little. England were clinical in all departments and thoroughly deserved to win. We need to be at our best against a team like England.
“The pitch was slow throughout the day which was surprising, not damp, just slow. Against the new ball it was two-paced but slow with the spinners. Haven’t seen pitches like that here before. The bowlers did well, especially their spinners who didn’t get greedy and contained the runs before getting wickets eventually,” said Kohli.
Defends team changes
He also defended the three changes he made for the crucial game, bringing in Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur in place of KL Rahul, Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul.
“We thought Dinesh did well, but he couldn’t convert his start, so I don’t regret the batting order changes. Shardul was meant to get some exposure, and Bhuvi needed to make a comeback. When the changes don’t come off, they look unnecessary so it must be taken in our stride.”
Kohli himself missed out on a century in the series, a rare occurrence, after he fell to a beauty from leggie Adil Rashid.
“I’ve been playing against Rashid since U-19 and it was a terrific ball, so it’s just one of those balls that you have to take in your stride and say ‘Wow’. I’m surprised that his turn has reduced over the years, but this one was an amazing ball,” said the star batsman, who is now looking forward to the five-Test series beginning on August 1.
“The Test squad is pretty settled, and it’s going to be a lengthy series. We want to play tough cricket and we know the English side will provide us with that,” he added.
Joe Root, who roared back to form after a lean patch, punished India with a second successive hundred. In fact, the England batsman who looked clueless against Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav earlier in the series, played him comfortably.
“It’s about putting faith in your game and backing your ability, so I’m happy I have done well in the last two games and I’ll take the confidence into the Tests. We’ve done well here over the last few years. The pressure of this being a must-win game was important and I am happy I contributed.
“The Test series will be exciting. India has played well over the last few years, and we did well against Pakistan recently too, so hopefully we can replicate that in this series as well,” said Root.
'We were clinical': Morgan
England captain Eoin Morgan says his team was simply “clinical” in the series-clinching win, a feat that was achieved after quickly learning from the “mistakes” committed in the first two games.
“We started poorly. As the series has gone on we have improved. It is a benefit of playing a bilateral series,” Morgan said in the press conference.
“That constant improvement has been brilliant since Trent Bridge. Today I thought it was clinical, right from the get go. Mark Wood got the ball swinging with David Willey for three or four overs and India never seemed to get away from us from there,” he added.
Root and Morgan were involved in an unbeaten 186-run partnership.
“I think it is extremely encouraging (for the Test series). The composure he’s shown, particularly in the last two games, is the Joe Root we know and trust.
“He’s been outstanding even when he’s been low on runs, around the group he’s been the same guy, hungry for runs and hopefully that continues for the rest of the summer,” Morgan said.
With yesterday’s knock, Root went top of the list among English batsmen to score ODI hundreds.
When asked if he was the best in that list, Morgan replied, “I think it’s difficult to say because we’ve guys that were halfway through their careers that have huge potential that can be as good as Joe, or even be better, or have more contributions.
“If it’s not the next World Cup, it will be the next. Guys in their late 20s and mid-to-late 20s can still contribute as much as Joe has done. (But) He’s an absolutely unbelievable cricketer.”
“It’s hard for me to compare red ball and white ball because it’s different picking the seam on the ball. I’m very proud of the way we’ve improved throughout. But Kuldeep hasn’t played that many games, I’m sure they’ll come back with something different.
“Adil Rashid has been at the top of his game for the last few years but he’s made unbelievable changes, fractional changes, variations and he reads the game well,” Morgan said.
Morgan said the challenge will be to maintain consistency until the 2019 World Cup after beating India 2-1 in the three-match series.
“One of the disadvantages is you play a different team every time and that’s hard to replicate. The challenge will be trying to show the consistency that we’ve had and continue that hunger to improve. We have a lot of white-ball cricket leading into the World Cup,” he signed off.