LEEDS: India will have to find the right balance in the ODI side and get their “act together” before the World Cup next year, said skipper Virat Kohli after his team’s 1-2 loss in the three-match series on the tour of England.
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“These kind of games will tell us what we need to improve upon for the World Cup. We need to have a good balance in the side, and we need to get our act right before the World Cup. We can’t rely on one skill and we need to do well in all departments,” said Kohli after the eight-wicket defeat in the series decider on Tuesday.
India are considered to be a top-heavy batting side which is lacking solidity in the middle-order, something that was evident in the third and final ODI after the fall of Rohit Sharma (2), Shikhar Dhawan (44) and Virat Kohli (71).
India were 156 for four in the 31st over but could only manage 100 runs in the last 20 overs.
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“We were never up to the mark as far as runs were concerned. We had 25-30 runs too little. England were clinical in all departments and thoroughly deserved to win. We need to be at our best against a team like England.
“The pitch was slow throughout the day which was surprising, not damp, just slow. Against the new ball it was two-paced but slow with the spinners. Haven’t seen pitches like that here before. The bowlers did well, especially their spinners who didn’t get greedy and contained the runs before getting wickets eventually,” said Kohli.
He also defended the three changes he made for the crucial game, bringing in Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur in place of KL Rahul, Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul.
“We thought Dinesh did well, but he couldn’t convert his start, so I don’t regret the batting order changes. Shardul was meant to get some exposure and Bhuvi needed to make a comeback. When the changes don’t come off, they look unnecessary, so it must be taken in our stride.”
Kohli himself missed out on a century in the series, a rare occurrence, after he fell to a beauty from leggie Adil Rashid.
“I’ve been playing against Rashid since U-19 and it was a terrific ball, so it’s just one of those balls that you have to take in your stride and say ‘Wow’. I’m surprised that his turn has reduced over the years, but this one was an amazing ball,” said the star batsman, who is now looking forward to the five-Test series beginning on August 1.
“The Test squad is pretty settled, and it’s going to be a lengthy series. We want to play tough cricket and we know the English side will provide us with that,” he added.
Joe Root, who roared back to form after a lean patch, punished India with a second successive hundred. In fact, the England batsmen who looked clueless against Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav earlier in the series, played him comfortably.
“It’s about putting faith in your game and backing your ability, so I’m happy I have done well in the last two games and I’ll take that confidence into the Tests. We’ve done well here over the last few years. The pressure of this being a must-win game was important and I am happy I contributed.
“The Test series will be exciting. India has played well over the last few years, and we did well against Pakistan recently too, so hopefully we can replicate that in this series as well,” said Root.