Virat Kohli has stated that Ravi Shastri was the brain behind promoting Hardik Pandya up the order, which eventually paid rich dividends as Pandya’s 78-run innings helped India clinch the series. Kohli has also praised the duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav for their wicket-taking prowess.
Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma started the Indian run chase on a great note and cruised to 147 for 2 in 23.3 overs. But after their dismissal, much to the surprise of many, Pandya walked out to bat at No.4 – a position that has been a conundrum for the Indian team lately. While many thought it was another experiment by the Indian side, Virat Kohli revealed that the promotion of the hard-hitting all-rounder was made specifically to counter the spin of left-armer Ashton Agar, on the suggestion of head coach Ravi Shastri.
"I'm really, really satisfied with the win. He (Pandya) is a star, has the ability with the ball, bat and the field. We need a guy like that, we've been missing an explosive all- rounder. He is a great asset for Indian cricket. The idea behind his promotion was Ravi (Shastri) bhai, to attack the spinner," Kohli said after the match.
In all the three games in the series so far, India found themselves at a precarious position, only to emerge successfully to win the game. On the other hand, Australia, despite being on the driver’s seat in all three matches, lost all of them – a far cry from the times when the Aussies used to be all over the opposition once an opportunity arose.
"Steve (Smith) mentioned the first 35 overs was good from their end, we knew when we get 2-3 wickets with their lower middle order, we could pull things back. It was a 330-340 wicket. Coming back from difficult situations has been a feature of this team. They were 35-40 runs short.”
Yesterday, the wrist-spinning duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav went for runs as Aaron Finch and Steve Smith, due to their experience in the Indian Premier League, countered them well, but the middle-order failed to capitalize. Kohli defending their bowling and stated the lack of grip off the wicket was the major reason for their rare off day.
"Wrist spinners need to be backed, they won't always get grip from the wicket, but they possess the ability to get wickets," he said.
Now, with the series sealed, India might give chances to the fringe players in the Bengaluru and Nagpur ODI.
"We might try few players now, but mindset remains the same. Journey stops only after the fifth game," he said.
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