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Question to Virat Kohli:
Does India’s coach Ravi Shastri agree with everything that you say?
“That’s the most bizarre thing I have heard,” says Kohli.
A defiant Kohli defended Shastri at a press conference ahead of India’s departure to Australia. How?
“About saying ‘yes’ all the time, that is the most bizarre thing I have heard. I don’t think there’s anyone who has said no to me more than him in Indian cricket. Honestly, because he’s one guy I can speak to and get an honest opinion and he’ll tell me something that if it doesn’t need to be done, it doesn’t need to be done. I’ve made more changes to my game listening to him than anyone else in the past,” Kohli said.
“These are very personal things that happen within the team environment and things that conveniently need to be put out there are put out there, and we’re not going to take a banner and say, ‘no, this is what happens in the Indian team’. As long as our heart is clear and our intent is right, we just want to keep moving forward.”
“The contribution he has brought to the table even since we started building this team is making people believe that they belong to this level. I can vouch for it because at a time when we all went through a really difficult time in England in 2014…for me to be able to come out of that shell, a lot of other players, like Shikhar [Dhawan] in the 2015 World Cup.
“Man management is the most important thing at the level at which we play. I think a lot of people think that we don’t understand what needs to be done and someone needs to literally tell you where the bat needs to come from, where the head has to be. I think we’ve learnt those things enough, it’s the man management which Ravi bhai has done brilliantly for the time that he’s been with the team.”
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) 12 November 2018
An implication of politics in the Indian team?
“We are definitely not out there wanting to judge anyone, the only criteria for all of us is this batch and that’s what we’re working towards, because he’ll finish one day, I’ll finish playing one day, but cricket stays here and Indian cricket stays here. We are just contributing to that and no one’s here wanting to dominate anything or gain something out of this.”
Learning from the England tour?
“There were a lot of things we sat down and discussed after England, what went wrong. To be honest, we all felt there was not much that went wrong. Whatever was not right was very extreme also. We played good cricket, but the mistakes were also very extreme, that’s why we lost that many number of games rather than wining those moments and winning the games.”
“Individuals need to take more responsibility, show more character in such situations and assess it, and then find a solution rather than thinking that the solution will appear from somewhere. Those are the things we are really keen on, going now in our next venture and especially in Test cricket.”
Top order v middle order
“We still understand that at the top it can get difficult, where guys are bowling a good spell and it’s really tough. Relatively easier for the middle order. But again, the lower-order contributions are crucial. As we saw in England, their lower-order contributions were much better than ours and that was the difference in the series.
“That’s where we want guys to be fearless. Actually, that’s the best place to bat where an allrounder, who can bowl as well, has literally no pressure. If they get going, they can change the whole course of the game or the series.”