India captain Virat Kohli on Friday said the World Cup team will be decided before the Indian Premier League (IPL) starts and performances in the cash-rich domestic T20 tournament will have no bearing on team selection.
“No, I don’t see the IPL having any influence on World Cup selection. I think that will be very, very radical sort of analysis,” Kohli said on the eve of the first ODI against Australia.
“We need to have a solid team. Before we head into the IPL, we need to be absolutely clear of what team we want for the World Cup. I don’t see anything changing on how the IPL goes for any of the players.
“If one or two players do not have a good IPL season, it doesn’t mean that they are out of the picture for the World Cup. Those things are not going to matter,” Kohli set the record straight.
Young Rishabh Pant has been in poor form of late but Kohli said he will be given more opportunities but not at the cost of playing a bowler less.
“We will have to think about the combinations. I don’t think playing a bowler less is a good idea because with the extra fielder in till the 40th over, it becomes very difficult to sort of get a few guys to chip in with a few overs here and there.
“We will have to work out the batting combination to try and give game-time to the guys we want to. But, I don’t see the bowling combination changing,” the skipper said.
Kohli also lavished praise on KL Rahul and hinted that he did impress the team management with his good shows in the T20s
“It augurs really well. KL, when he plays well, is operating at a different level I feel. We have seen him do that in the IPL last year and in patches over the last season we played as a team.”
Kohli explained what makes Rahul special.
“It’s very difficult to find a consistent player, who can play good cricketing shots and still win you games at a strike-rate of over 140 or 150. He has all the shots and has a solid game as well.
“…it will be interesting to see what happens in the final World Cup squad. Definitely, he has made a strong case for himself. It’s good he’s in great nick and hopefully he can carry it forward.”
Australia head coach Justin Langer meanwhile, backed top-order batsman Aaron Finch to rediscover his form during the ODI series.
Australia’s limited overs captain is going through a prolonged lean patch and has failed to register a single half-century in his last 19 innings in ODIs and T20Is.
“He’s such a good player, such a good person, captain of the team, we know he’ll come good. We just got to keep giving him plenty of care and support. We know he’ll come good. There’s no more destructive player in the world,” Langer told reporters.
“We talk about ‘Maxi’ (Glenn Maxwell), Marcus Stoinis, a number of our players who can be so destructive. But when he’s going, he is as destructive as a player as there is in white-ball cricket. We know he’ll come good and we’ll be patient with him,” he added.
Langer revealed that Finch has not let his form affect his composure and performance as captain.
“Another important part about leadership is that he’s really consistent. We haven’t see any real change in his personality or his attitude around the group, so that’s a real credit to him. That’s why he is the captain of the team,” the coach said.
“My experience of every captain, the most important thing is they’re playing really good cricket. He’s got to keep his attention on that. He’s got lots of support around him. Like I say, he’s such a good person, he’s got to be Aaron Finch, be himself. He’s doing that. He’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. We’ll just keep encouraging him to be himself. His runs will come, keep encouraging him to be himself and I’m sure he’ll come good soon,” he added.