PUNE: One has to do something exceptional to earn praise from Indian captain Virat Kohli.
And, on Sunday at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Gahunje, Kohli had just one word “Outstanding” to describe local batsman Kedar Jadhav’s knock of 76-ball 120 in the first ODI against England.
Describing it as one of the best calculative innings he had seen, Kohli said that he (Jadhav) put a lot of pressure into the spinners. His 150 strike rate was outstanding. Some of the shots he played, he told it was instinctive. I could not believe,” Kohli said at the post-match press conference.
Kohli himself scored 122 off 105 balls and and Jadhav made 120 for his career-best score as the two smashed hundreds to help India chase down the stiff target of 351 for a three-wicket win in the first ODI.
“Just to have another guy who is willing to do from any situation, to keep pushing, knew how exactly to bat on this pitch which was even better to bat on in the second innings. His shots were all clean, not slogs, and that’s way to bat at number 6. Was glad I was out there with him,” gushed Kohli.
Kohli, for whom it was his first day in office as India captain in all three formats of the game, said Jadhav was disheartened that he could not get the team past the victory line against New Zealand in the previous ODI series.
“He was disheartened versus New Zealand that he could not get the team across the line. I told him there was no point thinking what you could have done and told him to keep pushing hard,” said Kohli.
Asked how he and Jadhav tackled what looked like a hopeless situation with four top batsmen back in the hut for a mere 63 runs in the 12th over, Kohli said they decided to counter-punch their way.
“We spoke about how to tackle that situation and decided it the best way was counterattack. No wickets had been lost to good balls, we committed errors and the wicket was better to bat in the second innings.”
The ball travels very very far. We could hit sixes to put pressure on the opposition. It’s one of the best partnerships I have been part of. We have chased 350 before but not from 63/4,” said the captain.
Kohli admitted that some of the shots he himself had played during matches made him wonder afterwards how he had done them.
“I can recall many moments when I felt I did not do this, don’t know how it got executed. If you are focused on the goal, the target you want to achieve, and you are looking at the team’s interest all the time, you end up playing shots you don’t believe you are capable of achieving. Once you got the momentum you can pull off shots which you won’t believe. It’s just one of those things with all international batsmen,” he added.
Just to have another guy who is willing to do from any situation, to keep pushing, knew how exactly to bat on this pitch which was even better to bat on in the second innings. His shots were all clean, not slogs, and that’s way to bat at number 6. Was glad I was out there with him.
— Virat Kohli