Birmingham, On the eve of the high-octane ICC Champions Trophy semi-final against Bangladesh at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground here on Thursday, India skipper Virat Kohli hinted at retaining the same playing XI which trounced South Africa in their final Group B game at The Oval on Sunday.
In the run-up to the ICC Champions Trophy, India thrashed Bangladesh by 240 runs in a warm-up match, thanks to three-wicket hauls from the pace duo of Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar but Kohli on Wednesday backed off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion in the playing XI.
“We gave a lot of people chances in the practice games and everyone bowled well in that game but that does not mean that you will necessarily play against that particular opposition. Ashwin was brilliant in the last game, I don’t see any good reason to change that,” Kohli told reporters here.
“The team played really well, it was a complete performance and I certainly don’t feel that there is any need to change.”
Asked whether past results will boost the morale of the men-in-blue in the high pressure game, Kohli quickly pointed out that the team’s mindset does not change from game to game.
“We are not going to go with what past results have done going into a big game like this. We are going to treat it like how we treated the last game and our mindset does not differ,” he said.
“We have been in these kinds of games quite a few times before but there are no guarantees in this sport. We have seen during the league stages itself that a lot of teams have surprised the opposition.”
“We are not, certainly not, taking anything for granted. We will use whatever momentum we have gained in the tournament to execute in the match,” he added.
Terming Bangladesh a “very dangerous” side, the 28-year-old Kohli credited the opposition with rising to the challenge in big matches.
Bangladesh outplayed New Zealand in their final Group A tie to qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy, their first appearance in the last-four stage of any major ICC tournament.
“It’s no surprise that they are doing really well and have improved their cricket. Credit to their set-up and the kind of players who are taking more responsibility.”
“They are a very dangerous side on their day. No one can take their opposition for granted and Bangladesh have taken huge strides,” Kohli said.
Asked whether the lack of exposure to the lower order batting will affect the side in case of a crisis situation, Kohli said: “No, that’s not a concern, obviously as a batsman you want to finish off games. Everyone has batted well in the practice games and we know Kedar (Jadhav) and Hardik (Pandya) are playing really well at the moment.”
“So we are not bothered at all. Rather they are looking for an opportunity, if the team is in a sort of trouble, I am sure those two guys are going to step up along with Jadeja (Ravindra) and Ashwin.”
Kohli also congratulated veteran batsman Yuvraj Singh, who will play his 300th One-day International (ODI) on Thursday and hoped that the southpaw will contribute in a special way in the big match.
“I congratulate him and wish him all the very best and hopefully he can play a lot more for us and get in those match-winning performances all over again and I hope tomorrow is a special one for him.”
“Yuvraj’s contribution to Indian cricket has been outstanding. He has been a total match winner for India, won us so many big tournaments and series and this is just a testimony to the kind of talent he possess,” he added.