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Kohli for World Cup

Relishing at the prospect of leading the side in the first three ODIs against Sri Lanka, India’s stand-in skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday said the hastily-planned series would be an exciting one, especially with World Cup spots up for grabs. Terming the series very exciting, Kohli said his team will witness a lot of changes in the coming months to find out the perfect combination before next year’s World Cup.

“There can be a lot of changes, a lot of twists and turns in the playing eleven. Going ahead everyone wants to do well knowing that the World Cup is not that far away. So that’s an opportunity for all these guys to step in and make a strong impact and make a strong case for themselves,” Kohli told reporters on the eve of the series opener at the Barabati Stadium here.

“I’m sure everyone would be geared up considering the fact that World Cup spots are up for grabs. 3 to 4 of these guys would be part of that squad. This is a very exciting series knowing that there are not many games left before the World Cup.

“Everyone would like to get into the groove, especially as a team. We can test our combination and need to be very sure of what we want to do in the field and not try to experiment at that particular time,” he said.

Drawing parallel with the 2003 scenario when Sourav Ganguly-led India made the World Cup final before going down to Australia, Kohli said: “Even we had a similar debate before 2003 but they made the final and it was one of our best performances. I hope we also do something exciting like that. If we have to perform, the planning should start from now. We have to set our combinations right which will depend on our campaign in the World Cup. Obviously the squad will be selected from this bunch of players,” he added.

Regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been given rest for the first three ODIs of the five-match series that was planned after the West Indies pulled out over a pay dispute with their Board (WICB) but Kohli said there is no question of any lack in intensity from his team. “I always like being captain of the side. It gives me an opportunity to test myself to different aspects of the game. It’s something that I enjoy especially having a young side with not so much of experience is always an exciting thing.

Hitting out at critics, Kohli said he is not bothered about the questions being raised about his technique. “Talks are for people to discuss. I mean there has to be something for people to talk about… I’m not really bothered,” he said. “I don’t know how I got 25 hundreds with the same technique — you can start a debate on that as well.”

Asked whether he has been working on his technique, Kohli said: “I worked on my fitness. It’s not a nice thing to break down the whole batting when something has been working for you. Something that I’ve done is to work on my confidence a lot rather than going into technical stuff. I don’t know why there’s been so much of hype about my bad phase. Either they think I don’t deserve to be in the bad phase or they think I have a remote to score runs in every match. I know what all I’ve learnt from that phase. I take everything normally — good or bad performance. It’s just a day in life,” he said.

Kohli said it was about being mentally strong. “Yes there’re some things that I felt personally to work on. It’s just been a process to get my confidence back. It’s much about mentally and not much about technique as otherwise you start spoiling your game,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kohli said glovesman Wriddhiman Saha was fit to play in Sunday’s opener. “Obviously he’s the only wicketkeeper in the team so it’s not a debatable question. He’s fit and fine,” Kohli said on Saha’s webbing injury.

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