Indian captain Virat Kohli was a happy man after his team beat West Indies in the third and final T20I at Guyana to wrap the series up 3-0. As the team now moves forward to the 3-match ODI series, the Indian team’s experiment of playing some new faces in the T20Is paid rich dividends.
Given the success of new players in the team, Kohli refused to say that this series marks the beginning of Indian team’s road map to the 2023 World Cup which will be held in India. Talking to the press after the match, Kohli said, "It's too far to think about 2023 right now. For us, the priority always has been to be one of the most consistent sides in the world. I think in the last 3-4 years we have been able to achieve that. We are the number two side in the world and there is a good reason for that. We have been going to number one as well sometime.”
“You really start planning for the World Cup and looking forward to it 12 months to go and not four years away. The priority is to keep Indian cricket at the top. Play consistent cricket, go out and win games and find ways to win games for your team. And that's the reason we are one of the top teams in the world," Kohli explained.
The Indian captain, who scored a fifty, his 21st in the T20Is, was all praise for the Chahar brothers, as Deepak Chahar was awarded the Man of the Match for his initial burst of 3/4 which gave India an upper hand in the encounter. Meanwhile, his cousin Rahul made a solid debut, picking one wicket.
"We wanted to try a couple of guys. We gave both the Chahar brothers a go in this game. It was Rahul's first game and Deepak's come back. Playing for the first time, I think he (Rahul) was outstanding with the new ball. Pitch didn't have much, there was a bit cloud cover but kind of swing he (Deepak) got early and got those three wickets really set West Indies back and they could not get to a big total," said Kohli at the post-match press conference.
“I was definitely impressed with Deepak and how he bowled even with Rahul how he came back in the third over and got a wicket. I think it was a really good day for us as a fielding team, as a bowling unit and Deepak started it all for us," said the 30-year-old.
Talking about his own innings, Kohli said, "I don't think I need to prove myself with the bat or anything like that. I just want to do my job for the team. I don't play for my own performance. It is just about getting the team across the line whether I score 20, 30, 40, 50, or whatever. I have been playing like that for 11 years so nothing new for me and no pressure at all."
He was also in praise of Rishabh Pant, whose 65*-run innings and a 106-run partnership with Kohli handed India a 7-wicket win. Kohli said about Pant, "For the first two games, he was really disappointed as he didn't get any runs. He was playing well and hitting the ball well but that is how T20 cricket goes. Sometimes you don't have the rub of the green but today he made sure that he applied himself and backed his skills, hit the big shots when required. He played with the tempo of the innings, the tempo of what was required. Hitting the winning runs always gives you more confidence as a player, when you finish the game and come out not out batting in the end.”
Kohli mentioned that he wanted to see more such performances from the keeper-batsman, "I am really looking forward to seeing more performances from him like this. He has got the tremendous talent we all know. It is all about getting into his zone and doing this more often for the team."
The 3-match ODI series begins on August 8.