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Walking the hard road: Kohli firm on batting first heading into World T20

Kohli said that to challenge the players out of their comfirt zone by batting first is precisely because T20 is one format, where chasing is easier than batting first

Press Trust of India  |  Bengaluru 

Indian cricket team
Indian cricket players along with their head coach Ravi Shastri pose for a group photo before the start of the 3rd and final T20 match against South Africa. Photo: PTI

His decision may have backfired but India captain made it clear that his team won't deviate from the template of opting to bat first rather than chase on flat decks, going into next year's World T20 in Australia.

Having loaded the team with all-rounders, India bat as deep as nine but it didn't work on a flat Chinnaswamy deck where the 'Men in Blue' scored only 134 losing by 9 wickets to a relatively inexperienced South African side.

"(This is) exactly what we wanted to do and that's going to be the template we'll follow for games we have before the World Cup (on opting to bat after winning the toss). The mindset has to be flexible and to try out things when situations are stacked against us," Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

For the Indian captain, Sunday's loss was one-off where the execution wasn't top notch.

"We will have games like this, where we don't execute what we want. But as long as the intent is there to improve, we'll be in a good zone. I think South Africa bowled well, the pitch suited them in the first innings and we weren't able to read the tempo of the game well," said Kohli.

Kohli said that to challenge the players out of their comfirt zone by batting first is precisely because T20 is one format, where chasing is easier than batting first.

"I would say only in T20 cricket (where chasing is easier). In one-day cricket, you have time for the bowlers to comeback, but here a partnership of 40-50 can take the game away from you. One good partnership and you are under the pump even if you are defending 200," said Kohli.

The skipper reiterated that he would like to get the core composition ready as quickly as possible.

"The squad composition, we will try to get right as soon as we can. The guys, who have done well in the domestic circuit are getting opportunities, so it's not like we are playing random people.

"You have to understand as well that it's a very young side, you have to give them time as a team to come together. We batted till 9 tonight, and that's one area we're looking to strengthen."

Kohli's opposite number Quinton de Kock, on his part said keeping things "nice and simple" worked for them.

"We focused on hitting a good length. Our spinners kept it tight too. Beuran bowled really well and he has got the skills. Sometimes it's better on these wickets to take the pace off. We fixed one or two things from our mistakes in the last game. Our intensity in the field has also been really good."

Man of the match Hendricks said that he had bowled better than this game but is happy about how things worked for him.

"I have bowled better than this. Lots of hard work put in behind the scenes, so happy with that. I don't really look at the pitch when we come out to warm-up. The overcast conditions meant some swing was there. Once I assessed that, I didn't need to change much," he insisted.

First Published: Sun, September 22 2019. 22:55 IST