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India vs England | Everyone is Surprised By England's Struggles: Virat Kohli

Karthik Lakshmanan |June 30, 2019, 12:26 PM IST
India vs England | Everyone is Surprised By England's Struggles: Virat Kohli

Birmingham: Virat Kohli said he was slightly surprised by England's struggles in the recent games, adding that India were successful because they expected pressure to play a big part in the World Cup.

"Everyone is a bit surprised, we thought England is probably going to dominate in their own conditions," he told reporters ahead of Sunday's clash against England in Birmingham. "But as I said at the beginning of the tournament, that pressure is going to be a massive factor to handle, and low scores are going to be defended. I said that because I have played two World Cups and that usually happens in such a big tournament where all teams are very strong.

"So anyone can beat anyone on the day. We got a scare from Afghanistan, another low-scoring game against the West Indies. So you can't take anything for granted. It's the way it is right now. The other teams have outplayed England on occasions, and that can happen to any side. Although we haven't lost a game until now, we still can't be complacent as a side. The reason why we won all the games that we've played is because we've been very professional and precise in pressure moments."

England have been taken by surprise by the slowness of pitches, with Jonny Bairstow publicly wondering how things have been different from bilateral series over the last two years. Kohli said India were able to adapt because they had no pre-conceived notions of conditions.

"It is not my problem, to be honest," he said when asked about England's mindset. "We didn't come here with any kind of expectation of how the pitches are going to be. To be a good quality side, you need to adapt to the situation that is in front of you. In the last two games, I literally experienced that the pitch deteriorated while I was playing.

"It's not a thing that I go in with a certain mindset and, if the pitch is not according to what I'm feeling, I'll slog and get out. I think it's about finding ways to win, finding ways to score runs. That's something we take a lot of pride in as a team, and I just want us to focus on that. What's happening with another team or outside of our change room is of no concern or importance to us. They have to sort out their own issues themselves, I guess."

India's middle order has been a concern over the last two games, but Kohli was firm in support of his side saying they were batting according to situation and conditions even if it looked ugly from the outside.

"That discussion is always going to go on because we've had such a strong top order that these guys have hardly had a chance to bat," he said. "When they bat, out of four times, if once or twice it doesn't come off, then we feel like, oh, it's not a strong middle order, but we overlook the times that it has come good.

"When you win games of cricket and people are contributing, you need to be content and happy with that. If you look at the first three games that we played, the contribution was absolutely fine. We were getting 300 plus, and no one said anything. We were like, oh, this is an amazing batting order. Then one game where we could not accelerate as much as we'd like to have as a team, everyone says that maybe it's not as strong.

"So I think what matters for us in the change room is even a 25 to 30-run contribution, if it's getting to a score which can win you a game of cricket, that's more than enough for us. We're not looking at entertainment out there in the middle. We're not looking at playing cricket which is looking flashy. We want to be calculated. We want to play percentage cricket because, as I said, the team that handles pressure well is going to win games of cricket which are hanging in the balance. We're very, very comfortable and happy with how everyone is playing. Everyone is very, very keen to contribute, and that's all you can ask of all your players."

Asked specifically about MS Dhoni's struggles in rotating strike, Kohli said:

"He knows exactly what he needs to do. I don't think that he's ever been a cricketer that's ever had the need to be told what exactly he needs to do," he said.

"A lot of things happen on the outside. What we experience and what we know inside the change room is the most important thing to us, and we have total belief in him, and he stood up for the team many times. Especially if you look at this calendar year and the kind of performances he's given. I don't think it's fair to point out one or two performances which anyone can falter with the bat.

"We're not looking too much into it. He knows exactly what he needs to do. After the last game (against Afghanistan), he went into the nets. He worked hard. He put in a performance (against West Indies) and got us to a winning total, and we won the game. We got two points. We're very, very happy and comfortable with, as I said, where we stand as a team and how the batting is going at the moment."

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more