Virat Kohli ready to tackle ‘fearless’ England
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Pune: Indian captain Virat Kohli said his team had a battery of world-class bowlers to counter a “fearless” England batting attack in a three-match one-day series starting in Pune on Sunday.
India demolished England 4-0 in a preceding five-Test series at home but Kohli said the English were a different side when it came to the shorter formats of the game.
Led by Eoin Morgan, the English ODI team enjoyed a successful 2016, winning 11 and losing just five of their 17 matches. The visitors also showed their aggressive intent in a recent warm-up match against an India A side in Mumbai, successfully chasing a 305-run target with Sam Billings hitting a gutsy 93.
“I have seen the warm-up games as well, they seem to be quite fearless,” Kohli, 28, said at the pre-match press conference. I think against a side like this you need to be more aggressive in terms of wanting to pick up wickets because if you think of bowling dot balls they feed on that.
“So we already have plans in place in terms of how to counter what they come up with... we have quality bowlers on our side, we have bowlers who can make a dent initially. We have world-class spinners as well so it’s going to be interesting to see how hard they come at us initially... The English team especially in the shorter format looks very fearless.”
The one-day series is Kohli’s first assignment as full-time skipper after Mahendra Singh Dhoni quit as the ODI and T20 captain earlier this month.
Kohli also said his side would use the England series to prepare for the Champions Trophy in June.
“These three games we are necessarily taking them as knockout games in our own heads because we need to prepare for the Champions Trophy and we need to be in the right kind of mind frame because that tournament is like that, it is very competitive, it is very quick.
“These three games become all the more crucial because we don’t have much time before the big tournament.”
The second ODI will be played on January 19 in Cuttack with the last game on January 22 in Kolkata. The one-dayers will be followed by three Twenty20 matches.