India’s fielding coach R Sridhar revealed that the Indian team, under Virat Kohli, embraces pressure situations and attested that it brings the best out of every individual. Sridhar further sympathized with the struggling Kuldeep and admitted that Kiwis unsettled the wrist spinner with their plans.
After their crushing four-wicket loss in the first ODI in Hamilton, where they failed to defend 348, team India yet again finds themselves down in the series early on, with them now needing to win the last two matches to clinch series. This, however, is not alien territory for the Men in Blue, who found themselves behind against the Windies and Australia in the ODIs and against Bangladesh in the T20Is, losing the first match of each of those three series.
Eventually, the team bounced back to win all the three aforementioned series and the team’s fielding coach R Sridhar believes that pressure situation brings the best out of each and every individual in the team and attested that the players enjoy such do-or-die scenarios. Sridhar, at the same time, also attested that it was important for the team to not get complacent at any stage in a series.
“We should not get complacent (because we have won despite being down early in series before). But we embrace such situations. The team’s leadership group wants to be in tough situations,” Sridhar said in the post-match press conference on Friday.
“Such situations bring the best out of you so it is good to be under pressure. Even if it is a bilateral series, a T20I World Cup year or the Test Championship, if we are down a game, it brings out the best out of our players. So hopefully, we will try and play our best cricket tomorrow.”
At one stage while defending the target, with New Zealand’s score 109-2, with India having dismissed both the openers, it looked like the Men in Blue had the game well and truly in control, but the Kiwis launched an out-of-the-blue scathing attack on the Indian overs between overs 30-40, scoring a staggering 117 runs in the 10-over period.
Sridhar admitted that it was that very phase of the game where the visitors lost the plot - and eventually the game - but revealed that the loss was an opportunity to learn. Sridhar also added that the Hamilton loss was different compared to the Chennai one in December, where Hetmyer and Hope put the Indian bowlers to the sword from ball one.
“(In Chennai), Hetmyer, Hope and Pooran were just hitting balls out of the park. We were just relieved to get that series over and done with. But in the last game, it was in the fourth phase, between the 30th and the 40th over, where I thought we moved away from our plans a bit and that is where the game was lost.
“That is my personal opinion. It’s not a major concern as of now. We are not really worried about it. It is always an opportunity to learn. Whenever you get a game like this there is always something to pick up and learn for the longer run. We look at it like that more than anything else.”
Another growing area of concern for team India has been the withering form of Kuldeep Yadav, who has now conceded 211 runs in his last 3 ODI outings, at an economy rate of over 7. The 49-year-old admitted that the Kiwis had their own plans to unsettle Kuldeep and executed them to perfection, but stated that the wrist-spinner would get better as he gets more overs under his belt. Sridhar further indicated that Yuzvendra Chahal was all but the first-choice spinner in T20Is for India.
“Kuldeep is fully fit. He is not carrying any injuries and is cleared to play all the game. He has played a lot of ODI cricket. He played in all three ODIs against Australia. He didn’t play in the T20s because Chahal was there.
“Kuldeep is the kind of bowler who needs a lot of overs under his belt to get his rhythm - Typical leg spinner thing. I thought that New Zealand played him really well. They had their plans and hit him in the right area so they didn’t really allow him to bowl where he wanted to.”
The second of the three ODIs will be played at the Eden Park in Auckland on February 8.
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