The Indian skipper Virat Kohli feels that it is an outstanding achievement to secure the five-match away ODI series against the challenging host side New Zealand and that too in the first three games.
After their dominating victories in the first two ODIs of this series, Kohli’s Indian cricket team achieved another dominating victory in the third ODI of the series at Bay Oval on Monday (28 January). Bundling out the opponents for just 243 runs, the visiting side chased the target successfully in 43 overs after losing just three wickets.
Kohli feels very happy to see that his team had no motive to switch themselves into the relaxing mode after taking the 2-0 lead in the series.
The Indian skipper quoted in the post-match press conference, “Looking at the first three games, we were looking to win at least two to set up the series well but the fact that we have won three is an outstanding achievement. The thing that stands out for me is the relentless intensity with which the guys have played throughout these three games, not relaxing after 2-0 up as well. Which I think is very very important now, they have started to realise how to capitalise when we have the advantage in a series.”
While the top-order batsmen have always maintained their dominating performances in last one year, their recent Australia and New Zealand tour have shown India’s middle-order batting deepness of the national team.
Kohli spoke about this, “If you look at the last five games (two in Australia and three here), I have said that the No. 4 is a position that we are looking to solidify but when Ambati Rayudu starts playing like that, you start feeling more confident about the batting line-up.
“Dinesh Karthik is in great form as well, he can step in at any time if we need to shuffle the middle order, MS Dhoni is hitting the ball really well, so I don’t think after looking at the first three games, we have a lot to worry about.”
Kohli will now take rest from the remaining part of this ongoing New Zealand tour as he will not play the last two ODIs of the series and then the three T20Is too. However, he believes that the national team will not lose the intensity.
The Indian skipper added, “Not at all. Now things are more or less running in auto mode for us. I don’t need to throw myself around and ask others to do the same. When these two guys (Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu) were finishing the game for us, we were all sitting together and clapping for every run.
“I don’t think that intensity will drop. I am happy that I am leaving when we have won the series. It gives me a bit of relaxation as well. The intensity is going to be the same because it’s a team culture now and not necessarily something to do with me.”
While the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup is just four months away to begin, every team is preparing themselves for the tournament. India will face New Zealand in that tournament on 13 June at Trent Bridge.
When Kohli was asked about their prospect to face Kiwis at that big tournament, he replied, “In a tournament like the World Cup you never know what kind of confidence a team is carrying when you play them. If it’s the first game then you can bank on these things, but if they have had a great tournament already before playing us & they are in great space then this series is not guarantee that we will have an upper-hand against them in the World Cup.”