Core squad for 2019 World Cup is more or less sorted out: Kohli

Durban, Jan 31 : With around 15 months to go for the 2019 cricket World Cup, India skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday asserted that barring the No. 4 spot, the core of the squad is more or less sorted out for the quadrennial tournament in England.

Kohli also maintained that the ones who did well during the home season last year might not necessarily impress in England and wants the players to cash on the opportunities in the run up to the World Cup.

“We are going to play the World Cup in England, which is going to be very different from what we get back home as well. People who might be doing well at home might necessarily not repeat their performances in England, so we will have to figure out which player’s game suits the team best in particular conditions,” Kohli said on the eve of the opening ODI against South Africa at the Kingsmead Stadium here on Thursday.

“We feel that the core of players is more or less sorted (out). It’s about who takes that one particular spot (No.4), which the guys who get the opportunity need to capitalise and string in performances that convinces the management and the team.

“Obviously changes can happen at any stage, you never know who is in form or not at that stage, but what I see is that the core is more or less formed,” he added.

The 29-year-old also seemed to be satisfied with the balance of the side, which includes the two wrist spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal (leg-break) and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav.

“We are probably the only team in world cricket who are blessed with two wrist spinners and with Kedar (Jadhav) doing the conventional job really well, that’s why I said the balance of the side is pretty good at the moment,” he said.

“Wrist spinners help you in any conditions, in any part of the world. They can go for six an over but they will pick you two-three wickets as well, which makes the difference at the end.

“We are very happy to have two wrist spinners who are very different from each other. Both are versatile in their own way. I think that’s going to be a major strength for the team going forward,” he added.

On being asked about his team’s approach for the upcoming series against the Proteas, which could potentially be a good preparation going into the 2019 World Cup, Kohli said: “We have explored a lot of options in the last few months. Since we don’t have much time and have only a few series before the World Cup, we want to try as many combinations as possible.”

“I don’t think the quality of the team will be compromised anyway regardless of who takes the No.4 position because of we have strong batsmen above and below to stabilise the innings. I am pretty confident of all the guys in the team.

Kohli also indicated that Ajinkya Rahane could be the potential candidate for the coveted No. 4 slot despite the team management looking at him as the third opener.

“Rahane can be considered as the third opener but may change since he batted at No. 4 in the World Cup and in seamer-friendly conditions he can be a good option for the No. 4 slot.

“We have Manish (Pandey), Shreyas (Iyer), Kedar (Jadhav) who can bat at No. 5 and 6, besides Hardik (Pandya) and MS (Dhoni). We don’t want to be one dimensional and would go by whose technique suits the best in the given conditions,” he added.

Kohli also wished the best for the Prithvi Shaw-led India colts, who thrashed Pakistan by 203 runs in the semi-final to set up the ICC Under-19 final against Australia on Saturday.


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