While Kohli praised the likes of KL Rahul (101*) and Umesh Yadav (2/21) for their display, he made special mention of Man of the Match Kuldeep Yadav (5/24) and said that the chinaman bowler turned the game on its head in the 14th over as he dismissed Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root.
“Just looking at all the three skill-sets and how convincing we were gives me a lot of pleasure. Some of the younger guys stepping up pleases us too. We are shuffling around keeping the World Cup in mind and that's why KL (Rahul) went in at three and I went in at four.
“Umesh was superb with the new ball as well. Kuldeep is a wrist spinner, he's going to be lethal with any help from the pitch. It was his one over that turned it for us beacuse England were taking it away before that. He's very difficult to pick and his wrong 'un hasn't been easy and I hope he can keep working on it,” he said.
Kohli said that the team was lucky to restrict the Englishmen from scoring another 30-40 runs as that could have made the chase slightly tricky.
“At the toss I didn't think the wicket wouldn't change much through the course of the game, but we were lucky to keep them down to 30-40 runs short. With the start they got, I thought they would get to 200. And then the odds were stacked against England,” he said.
Kohli didn’t miss the opportunity to praise Rahul for his clean and crisp hitting. “Rahul has come a long way; especially the way he's been batting since the IPL and in that one game in Ireland — so clean and crisp. We want guys like him to step up. We don't want to be one-dimensional, we want people going up and down the order. He's got a great technique, great temperament and is very hungry and today he was a bit emotional because the last century he scored was against England in Chennai and it's been that long he's been waiting for. It was a great century and a great sign for Indian cricket,” he smiled.
Kohli said that he dropped down a slot in the batting order to take control in the middle-overs. “We haven't changed a lot, I usually bat at three and have dropped to four, but this allows me to control the innings in the middle-overs. It gives someone like KL the freedom to go after in the powerplay,” he explained.
The diktat is very clear and Kohli wants his players to go out and enjoy themselves.
“We want our cricketers to be fearless, enjoy themselves just like what Kuldeep and he did today. We don't want that mindset to change and want to provide a cushion behind them to go after. It may not work out well every time but we need to stick to it,” he said.
Even though Jos Buttler was dropped once, Kohli said that the team realised the importance to send him back to the dugout. “We dropped Jos and we know how dangerous he can be. It was a moment where I felt we needed to hold on to everything and I got the opportunity to convert. I can't be someone who's standing on the field doing nothing, I need to be pumped up when I am playing for the country and sometimes that boils over, but it's not that I always go bonkers. Luckily that passion has carried on for a while,” he signed off.
First Published: July 4, 2018, 8:25 AM IST