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MS Dhoni will find momentum with India’s string of ODIs: Virat Kohli

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 24-08-2017

India skipper Virat Kohli feels the string of One-day Internationals scheduled this year will help the team smoothen out rough edges and define roles for players seen in the mix for the 2019 World Cup.

On Thursday, India play Sri Lanka in the second ODI of the current five-match series. They are scheduled to play Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka again in home series until the end of the year before touring South Africa.

“This gives us an opportunity to create momentum like we have done in Test cricket. We’ve made a few changes already with where the team wants to go as far as our fitness is concerned. And we want to have possibly the best fielding side on the park; that is one dynamic that will remain consistent,” Virat Kohli told the media on the eve of the match at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.

The number of ODIs will particularly help former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who plays only limited-overs cricket. The double World Cup-winning skipper’s ability to finish games and stay on to play in the World Cup in England has been in focus.

“This coming season gives us an opportunity to define roles for players and give them time to execute them so that for the World Cup we know exactly what one player needs to do in certain situations,” Kohli said.

“And it helps someone like Dhoni too because he doesn’t play Test cricket anymore. This long streak of matches will help him stay 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.”

HARDIK OPENING ATTACK

All-rounder Hardik Pandya is likely to share the new ball as the team management helps him polish his ODI bowling. “Quite possible (he opens the bowling),” Virat Kohli said. “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.

“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.”

FOCUS WITHIN GROUP

“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.

“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.”

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