ICC World Twenty20: In-form Virat Kohli up for Australian challenge

first_imgIt’s the business end of ICC World Twenty20 2016. Five teams are now fighting for the remaining two spots in the semi-final. And on Sunday, India and Australia will face-off in a virtual quarter-final at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali. Both teams, after losing their opening clashes to New Zealand, would be ready for each other.In-form Indian batsman Virat Kohli though believes that the series win over Australia Down Under earlier this year will give them an edge over their fierce rivals in tomorrow’s clash. (Also read: Dangerous Australia stand between India and semi-finals) “Australia series was the catalyst for our consistent performances in this season. We can focus on the positive things we did against Australia,” he said. (India vs Australia will be an open game, says Sachin Tendulkar)However, the star batsman warns against complacency and says the team can’t take anything for granted when they play against a top-quality T20 side.”We can’t take anything for granted. It’s a virtual quarter-final for us. If we play to our potential we can beat Australia again,” he said. (Australia and India would be ready for each other, says Steve Waugh)Kohli also said that his team was wary of Australia’s skipper Steve Smith who has a staggering record against India across the formats of the game.It was Smith, under Michael Clarke’s captaincy, who hit a calm and composed century (105 from 93 balls) in the 2015 World Cup semis and helped his team knock India out of the tournament.advertisement”Steve Smith has been a very important player for Australia. He gives them the solidarity in the middle order. He is someone who can play least number of dot balls and keep the scoreboard ticking,” Kohli said.The batsman also had a tip for Ashwin & Co. to see the back of Smith. “It’s all about the mindset. It all depends on how much you believe you can get your opponent out. It all boils down to that,” he said.The Delhi batsman said his style of cricket is very similar to that of Australia’s and that he enjoys playing against them. “Australia is a very strong side, they play with a lot of passion. I believe in playing the same way,” he said.Kohli has been a consistent performer against top-quality sides and Australia is no exception. The star batsman scored 199 runs from three matches including three half-centuries in the highly successful T20I series in Australia. #WT20 Men: Straight from the coaching manuals – @imVkohli in the nets #Indhttps://t.co/1a8N6pBfag BCCI (@BCCI) March 26, 2016However, Kohli admits that it is difficult for him to go out and score against Australia every time. ” I have always enjoyed playing against Australia. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to end up scoring every time. You have to assess the situation, you have to respect the opposition bowlers and plan accordingly.”Kohli also said the Indian team was ready to battle pressure in big matches. He praised skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for remaining calm under pressure in the crunch tie against Bangladesh and helping them win a closely-fought contest on Wednesday. (This is how MS Dhoni is chilling ahead of crucial game vs Australia)”Dhoni’s biggest quality is that he remains calm and composed in pressure situations. If there are people around who get very excited then we need 2-3 people who remain calm.”Experience is very important in big games. Dhoni has captained India in many big games. He has finished many big games which builds a self assurance and self confidence over a period of time,” he said.#WT20 Men: The #Ind Captain is here and so is that sweet sound from his willow – @msdhonihttps://t.co/ToJqSWyTai BCCI (@BCCI) March 26, 2016Kohli also said playing crunch games in big tournaments has boosted his confidence.  He recounted the experience of playing in front of big leaders and a massive crowd when India and Pakistan played the semi-final of the 2011 World Cup in Mohali.”One thing I learnt was, if you play well in the semi-final and final of World Cup, you become more confident as a player. You need to take up challenges rather than being nervous about them.”It was my first World Cup. I was 21 years old then. The occasion was too overwhelming for me. I have never seen Prime Ministers from both the countries on the ground. I did not expect the energies to be so high,” he said.Kohli also maintained that he was not concerned about critics blaming the team for lack of dominant performances at this year’s World T20. He was optimistic about India chances of winning their second T20 title. (Also read: Pre-tournament favourites India not really good enough yet)advertisement”We obviously want to win the tournament. We are working very hard to achieve that. You need to draw the line to keep the negative stuff away.  We are trying to use the positive for our good,” he said.last_img