Pallekele : Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday said that the series of upcoming limited-over matches scheduled to be held this year will provide a great opportunity to the players, including his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni, to define their roles and execute it well before the 2019 World Cup.
Dhoni’s form as well as his cricketing career have been under scanner following his retirement from Test cricket in 2014, but Kohli believes that the 24 limited-over matches at home will help the former skipper in getting some momentum and consistency going his way.
Speaking a day before his side’s second ODI of the ongoing five-match series against Sri Lanka in Pallekele, Kohli said, “This coming season gives us an opportunity to define roles for players and give them time to execute it so that for the World Cup, we know exactly what one player needs to do in certain situations.”
“And it helps someone like MS also because he doesn’t play Test cricket anymore. This long streak of matches will help him be in touch with the international games, find some momentum and stick to it. You want to find momentum in a season like this and make sure you carry it through with consistent performances,” he added.
Kohli further revealed that the team has started taking more responsibilities over the past few years and is focusing on winning more games for the country as a team rather than on their personal achievements.
“One thing we decided to do as a team was take more responsibility and ownership of what we do on the field.We have gained experience in the last two years as a Test team and now we feel much more comfortable at where we have reached rather than waiting for gaining experience and then trying to get into the mindset of winning games,” Kohli emphasized.
“We rather got together as a team and for us only victories mattered and not where we stand personally. And the result is that all of us have grown as cricketers. That was the only message we shared as a group. It can be different for different teams,” he added.
The record home season, which will see India hosting 23 international matches, will see the Kohli-led side playing against Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka again until the end of the year before touring South Africa.
When quizzed about possibility of giving Hardik Pandya the new ball, Kohli answered in affirmation, while adding the all-rounder could use his height as an advantage to get an extra bit of bounce.
“Quite possible. It’s because he has the ability to swing the ball and can bowl consistently over 135 kph. With the new ball, he can get a bit of extra bounce because of his height,” the swashbuckling batsman insisted.
“Hardik has bowled with the new ball in India as well, against England and New Zealand in a few games. We look at it as a great option. Being the fifth bowler, we can get four-five overs (out of him) in the first 10, swinging the ball. If teams try to go after him, he can pick a couple of wickets also,” he added.
India are currently leading 1-0 in the ongoing ODI series following their crushing nine-wicket win over Lanka in the opening match in Dambulla. ( ANI)