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India vs West Indies | Pant’s Chance to Unleash His Potential in International Cricket: Kohli

Cricketnext Staff |August 3, 2019, 10:47 AM IST
India vs West Indies | Pant’s Chance to Unleash His Potential in International Cricket: Kohli

The Indian cricket team led by Virat Kohli are keen on moving on from their World Cup semi-final defeat, and the T20 International series against West Indies beginning August 3 in Florida is something they won’t be complaining about.

There has been a lot of chatter about the coaching staff and the T20 World Cup next year, but according to Kohli it is never too late to start prepping for the showpiece event.

"Yes, absolutely," Kohli said. "We have 25-26 games in hand before arriving there and we want to look at all the games to have a solid combination - conditions based, obviously, because the conditions in Australia eventually will be different and so will be your combination. And according to your team, and what each person's strengths are, is what we're trying to figure out. It's a very normal process in cricket at this level that whatever games you have you use it to build towards that global tournament.

"Having said that, there's no game that you want to take lightly either. You want results as also. As a team, if you are looking at building the confidence, then results should follow those processes and combinations. So, it boils down to the players eventually. Whoever gets the chance, in whatever combination and how much responsibility they take in the situation and how well they deliver for the team. That's our focus till the World Cup - to figure out our best 15 and our best 11."

The West Indies series is among the chances for the plethora of youngsters looking to make their case for the 2020. There are as many as five different inclusions from the last time they played. Among those are uncapped players Rahul Chahar and Navdeep Saini.

Leg-spinner Chahar played an influential role in Mumbai Indians' title-winning campaign in the IPL this year, while Navdeep Saini has caught the eye too with his pace at the Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore.

According to Kohli, this is also the time when Delhi’s Rishabh Pant should look to gain experience and cement his place in the team.

"It's a great opportunity for someone like Rishabh Pant to really play a lot of international cricket, show his credentials, really unleash his potential at this stage," Kohli said. "We know how much ability he has and we all want him to become a consistent performer for the Indian cricket team. MS's experience is always going to be a very crucial factor but having said that some of these younger guys have a great opportunity ahead of them and they should just look forward to it."

"All these are proven performers and we actually have a lot of belief in their abilities. We know giving the ball to anyone at any stage of the game, they'll do the job. Everyone is a professional here and they have come because of a lot of T20 experience. If you look at the IPL you will have so many options, but you choose 15 which are the best. That's what it was down to. And you expect them to do the job on the day."

"I think the good thing is with T20 cricket we're not really worried about the mindset of the players because having played IPL back home for so many years and being good performers in the T20 format, these guys have a lot of composure," Kohli said.

Kohli said that he was looking forward to playing in Florida again. India last played here three years ago against the West Indies and lost the series 0-1.

"Even last time we played, it was pretty good, high-scoring and we all had a lot of fun playing here. This time is going to be no different. More than looking at the facility or anything like that at this stage, it's more about coming to America and just playing cricket here and spreading the word that cricket can potentially be a sport that can be added here. And at that same time, for the people to come and watch as well, it's just a nice time to be around for the whole week."

The three-match series kicks off with the first T20I on Saturday (August 3).

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