A ‘special chat’ with ABD helped Virat Kohli get back to his best

AHMEDABAD: Shifting his focus to the basics and a “special chat” with his Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate AB de Villiers helped India skipper Virat Kohli return to his best in the second T20 international against England here on Sunday.
Kohli, who did not have the best of times in the preceding Test series by his standards and got out cheaply in the first T20, made an unbeaten 73 off 49 balls to power India to a seven-wicket win.
“I had to shift the focus back to the basics. Probably thinking of too many variables on the outside. I’ve always taken pride in doing the job for the team, so more happy about that than scoring 70 odd,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

“Kept my eye on the ball. The management spoke to me about things. Anushka is here, so she also keeps speaking to me about things. And I had a special chat with AB de Villiers before this game and he told me just to watch the ball. So I did,” the skipper added.
He shared a 94-run stand for the second wicket with debutant Ishan Kishan, who made a sensational 56 off 32 balls.
“Special mention to Ishan. I tried to do what I can, but he just took the game away from the opposition. Quality innings on debut…We’ve seen him hit international fast bowlers for big sixes. He knew he was hitting the ball well but he was calculated, not reckless. Today that counter-attacking innings of his and our partnership was something the team needed,” said Kohli praising the young southpaw.
The India captain also lauded his bowlers for limiting England to 164 for six.
“I think we ticked all the boxes we wanted to, especially in the first innings with the ball. To give away only 34 in the last five (overs), it was very smart bowling, especially Washy (Washington Sundar). He had only one left-hander to bowl to and he used the big boundary to the right-handers better.”

Kohli is pleased that his star all-rounder Hardik Pandya is back to bowling regularly, having gained full fitness after undergoing a back surgery.
“Credit to Hardik that he’s bowling at least 3 overs for us in every game. And (over) the next six to eight months period, he has promised he is going to commit everything to being the all-rounder the team needs in all three formats. He plays for the team in all times and these kind of players are priceless.”
England skipper Eoin Morgan gave credit to India for bowling well in the death overs.
“I think at the halfway stage, we were in and around par. We were in the game but I thought we would have to bowl well to get over the line. I thought India bowled well,” said the visiting team’s skipper.

“This was a different pitch to the one (used) for the first game, less pace on it. And then they came out and put us on the back foot almost from the start, and we didn’t have a counter to that, which was disappointing.”
“We want to learn as much as possible from tonight. I’m glad we played on this kind of wicket tonight, but disappointed with the way we played. Statistically, there is always an advantage in chasing if there is dew around, especially. Tonight there was no dew, so full credit to India,” said Morgan.
‘Player of the Match’ Kishan credited his Mumbai Indians teammates like Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya for making him feel comfortable on his India debut.

“It’s not easy when you come here and play your first game. Mumbai Indians have taught me a lot. I’ve been there with so many senior players and they have given me very good advice. I love to play the reverse sweep but it didn’t go my way.
“I was upset (on getting out) because I wanted to finish the game. I think when Tom Curran bowled his first ball and I smacked him for a six, that was the moment I felt I can keep doing this.
“I don’t know if I’ll get this feeling again but I was feeling like ‘finally I’m here.’ This innings is for my coach’s dad, who passed away a few days ago,” said Kishan.

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