Virat Kohli praised R Ashwin's professionalism for putting the team's interests ahead of his own after the latter's omission from the playing XI against Pakistan. Kohli also added that the positive atmosphere and team spirit in the dressing room had made his job as a captain very easy.
Making tough calls is a part of every leader’s job and Kohli’s position is no different. On Sunday, for India’s tournament opener against Pakistan, Kohli chose to go with Ravindra Jadeja instead of India’s premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Asked whether it was difficult to convey his decision to the off-spinner, Kohli said, “Ashwin is a top-class bowler. Everyone knows that. And he is very professional as well. He understands the dynamics of the side that was picked in the last game and he was absolutely fine with it. He (Ashwin) told me ‘I support you whatever you want to do.’ That’s always been our equation,” as reported by Hindustan Times.
Speaking ahead of India’s second game against Sri Lanka, the 28-year old also clarified that the only disagreements that he has had with Ashwin were with regard to on-field issues. “Yes, we do have disagreements on bowling plans and all those
“All those things happen. But in this
Having said this, Ashwin’s exclusion is not the only tough call Kohli has had to make. He was also responsible for the promotion of Hardik Pandya ahead of MS Dhoni during the game against Pakistan. But Kohli revealed that the collective atmosphere and team spirit within the Indian dressing room makes things easier for him.
“Not hard (taking tough calls) at all. As I said, it’s very hard for people looking from the outside, but the kind of understanding we have within the team, it’s difficult to explain. We have a lot of respect among the players and trust among the players.”
“There are no issues whatsoever -- I mean. I am not saying this because I want to make it sound good but if you guys ever end up experiencing that team environment, you will understand what I am saying, that there is total transparency. Everyone respects and understands what we decide to do as a team. If people react to it differently, then it becomes an issue, but if everyone is supportive of it, then you have no issues at all,” Kohli said.
Finally, Kohli also revealed the reason why Umesh Yadav was preferred over Mohammed Shami, saying, “Shami has not played 50-over cricket for a long time. I am glad he bowled really well in the first few practice games but I felt that Umesh, Bhuvi, and Bumrah had much more match practice and the performances to back that up in the last few series we played.”
The Indian skipper concluded by praising Shami stating, “A bowler like Shami will always be in your set up because we know about his abilities, and he’s the sort of guy that can win you games in any form of cricket.”
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