Virat Kohli has defended his decision to bat first, stating that he took the decision to help his team prepare for tougher challenges in the future keeping the WT20 in mind. Kohli became the first captain to bat first in a T20I in Bengaluru, subsequently losing the match by nine wickets.
Eyebrows were raised when Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first on a Chinnaswamy wicket that historically favoured the team chasing, but right from the moment of the toss, the Indian skipper defended his decision saying that it was done with a long term vision. The decision ultimately backfired as South Africa thrashed India by nine wickets, but Kohli isn't worried and is content as India succeeded in challenging themselves ahead of the WT20 next year.
"(This is) exactly what we wanted to do and that's going to be the template we'll follow for games we have before the World Cup (on opting to bat after winning the toss)," Kohli said in the post-match press conference, reported Times of India.
"The mindset has to be flexible and to try out things when situations are stacked against us," he added.
While admitting that his men didn't quite execute the plans, Kohli insisted that there were still plenty of positives to take from the encounter, none so more than India's intent to improve and fine-tune their skills. He also lavished praise on the Proteas bowlers, while stating that it's always easier to defend totals in ODIs compared to T20Is, where the fielding side has breathing space and more time to come back into the contest.
"We will have games like this, where we don't execute what we want. But as long as the intent is there to improve, we'll be in a good zone. I think South Africa bowled well, the pitch suited them in the first innings and we weren't able to read the tempo of the game well," said Kohli.
"I would say only in T20 cricket (where chasing is easier). In one-day cricket, you have time for the bowlers to comeback, but here a partnership of 40-50 can take the game away from you. One good partnership and you are under the pump even if you are defending 200," he added.
India fielded an unchanged XI in Bengaluru, meaning the likes of Khaleel Ahmed, Rahul Chahar and Manish Pandey warmed the bench for the second match running. Speaking about that, Kohli revealed that the plan was to settle on an undisturbed starting XI as soon as possible, while also adding that the team is keen to exploit the depth in batting.
"The squad composition, we will try to get right as soon as we can. The guys who have done well in the domestic circuit are getting opportunities, so it's not like we are playing random people.
"You have to understand as well that it's a very young side, you have to give them time as a team to come together. We batted till 9 tonight, and that's one area we're looking to strengthen," said the Indian skipper.
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