Virat Kohli gives you 8 reasons Dhoni and team won't disappoint
The Indian vice-captain exuded confidence ahead of India's first match in the tournament against New Zealand on March 15.
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The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led India has looked in red hot form in T20 cricket of late, whitewashing Australia in its own backyard, beating Sri Lanka in a series at home, and winning the prestigious Asia Cup without dropping a single match over the last two months. The batsmen look in fine touch, the bowlers have played their parts to perfection and the fielders have been livewires on the field.
But the greatest prize for Dhoni's side would be a second World T20 crown, and one of the reasons expectations are high is because the showpiece event is being held in India, in conditions which Dhoni and company know like the back of their hands.
So with Team India starting its campaign against New Zealand in Nagpur on March 15, the nation hopes. It hopes for a repeat of 2011 when India won the ODI World Cup at home, ending a wait of nearly 30 years.
Indian vice-captain and star batsman Virat Kohli exuded confidence at the press conference a day before India launches its bid for the world title. Here are some key takeaways from Kohli's interaction with the media:
1. Calmness counts
There has to be a good balance between everything. So awareness counts big time in big tournaments. So does calmness.
2. Important to soak in pressure
It helps knowing that we were able to come through in a longer format of the game. Your skill levels, concentration levels, everything is tested much more than that in T20s. We got over that hurdle in the 50-over format. For me, to be the youngest of the team, to face that kind of pressure... I didn't feel it so much because I was a youngster.
But I saw the senior players and how people expected things from them. I think you have to soak all of that in. It's very difficult to ignore each and everything that is being said to you. At home we expect that and are prepared for that.
3. Managing yourself off the field matters
In all these major events, the skill required is how you manage yourself off the field.
On the field... it is probably the safest and the quietest place for you, especially playing in your home country. The field is actually a getaway where you face the least pressure in big tournaments like these. The key will be how we manage ourselves away from the ground. That requires collective effort by everyone.
4. Better to focus on ourselves than the opposition
No one can afford to drift away and focus on plans that our oppositions are making throughout the tournament. It is important to focus on what we have to do.
5. On Mohammad Shami
When he was playing regularly for the team he had done really well for us. He has got us wickets with the new ball and attacked the batsman. A bowler like that is always a plus in the squad. We were all waiting for him to get fit and come back and find his rhythm. He has bowled well in the warm up matches and is looking good and will only get stronger and stronger.
I can't comment on the composition of the squad, but it is very difficult to try and change something which has won you so many matches. Different conditions require different combinations and it is upto the captain and management to figure out what needs to be done. We are glad to have him back, but (that doesn't mean) that because he is back we have to change the combination too much.
6. Everybody must look to contribute in whatever way possible
We don't focus on two-three people only, we don't neglect anyone. Our focus is on the whole batting order. We need a sense of team bonding where people say I am happy to contribute for the team whatever stage I go in. It is very easy to get desperate and wanting to perform yourself... you may start to get desperate or disappointed if you get out a couple of times because you had seven-eight balls to face.
The feeling that has to (be there) to win major tournaments is that I am happy to contribute even seven-eight runs in three balls if my team requires me do so. That could be a bigger imapct than a guy scoring 80 and slowing down in the end. That sort of a mindset helps. In the warm up matches everyone got a decent opportunity. Everyone's looking good and looking to contribute. This is I think the most important thing.
7. On the top order
As Shikhar has himeself mentioned, his role is pretty clear, to go out there and play his natural game, try to take on the first six overs and the field restrictions. Rohit and me try to think on the same lines of assessing the situation and seeing where your partner is going, what's he playing like, who is hitting the ball better.
We have been able to bring in an awareness when we have batted in the first 10-12 overs which helps a side build totals or chase totals down.
8. Vital to stay aware always
It is important to stay aware in a T20 match because you may have a rush of blood and go for a big shot and the team might totally go down the slide from there on. It is very important to be aware every ball, and that's what all three of us have done well in the past few series that we have played. It will be an added responsibility to continue the same. The middle order has not had too much of an opportunity and it is our responsibility to keep the momentum going.