Ahead of their departure to England to play the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Team India skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri addressed the media in Mumbai on Tuesday. They said the team was fully prepared for the “most challenging World Cup”, and would bring the coveted trophy home if the they played “up to our potential”.
The ICC Cricket World Cup will begin in the United Kingdom on May 30.
“It is the most challenging World Cup, any team can upset any any team. Team will have to adapt very quickly,” Kohli said.
Ravi Shastri said: “If we play up to our potential the World Cup will be here.”
Kohli said there might not be many high scoring matches. “We expect all kind of scores in the World Cup, but there would be few high scoring games looking at the predictions.”
Speaking about playing in the England, Shastri said: “The pitches might be flat, in England overhead conditions will matter. If you go to London, it will. You have to be prepared to be flexible.”
“This is an experienced unit, we have accomplished. Each one compliments each other,” he added.
Making a specific mention of MS Dhoni, the head coach said: “He has a massive role. There is no one better than him in this format especially in those little moments which can change the game. He will be a big player in this World Cup.”
Kohli, who is playing this third World Cup and the first as captain, said though it was going to be a challenging tournament, players would have time to re-group, and that was a good thing.
“In football, players maintain their intensity for three-four months, like in the Premier League or La Liga. You can take motivation from anywhere, when you talk about Indian Army, if we can do anything for them, it will be the best,” Kohli added.
Shastri said the World Cup was a great opportunity, and India had played great cricket for the past five years. “We need to enjoy the tournament. If we play to our potential then the Cup can be ours. Format is also challenging, the gap between team is also very close. It’s a very strong competition. It will be fantastic. The plus side is you have nine games.”
Kohli said they were expecting to play the “best cricket”. “Playing really good cricket has been our focus and hence the results. All the world cup-bound players were in great form during the IPL and we expect ourselves to play the best cricket we can. The emphasis will be on the process.”
Kohli added that the focus was on not letting the fitness levels go down. “Handling pressure is more important than the conditions, all bowlers have been preparing with the 50 over World Cup in mind. Even during the IPL, if you see none of our bowlers looked fatigued as they have been in the 50 over zone. The key is to not let the fitness levels come down and that was communicated to them before the tournament.”
In a good news ahead of the Cup, all-rounder Kedar Jadhav, who had hurt his left shoulder during the IPL, was declared fully fit to be included in the World Cup squad. Kohli called him one of the pillars.
“Kuldeep is one of the pillars along with Chahal for our bowling. The same applies for Kedar Jadhav; he wasn’t playing in the best of pitches and T20 is such a format where if you aren’t among runs, then it tends to continue for a few games. I’m sure they are in a good headspace,” he said.
Jadhav’s participation in the World Cup was doubtful after he sustained a shoulder injury while fielding during an IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on May 5.
Speaking about the preparations, Shastri said: “Our mantra is to be flexible in the last 10 overs. The pitches are going to be flat but overcast conditions will also have to be taken into consideration. It will vary from venue to venue, so you have to be prepared for that.”
Earlier in the day, Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar visited Shirdi Saibaba temple on Tuesday to seek blessings ahead of the World Cup.