NEW DELHI: Virat Kohli has said his team is not panicking about the World Cup despite India suffering their first ODI series loss at home since 2015 at the hands of a resurgent Australia.
Their collapse from 2-0 up to a 3-2 defeat earned his side some harsh criticism in the media on Thursday, with a Times of India headline declaring “The Bubble Bursts”, while the Indian Express said “India lose grip, match, series”.
But Kohli, the Indian captain, said after Australia sealed the series on Wednesday: “None of the guys in the changing room are panicking, the support staff is not feeling down after this defeat.
“The XI is clear in our head. We just have to take better decisions in pressure situations to go far in the World Cup,” he added.
But the skipper urged his players to manage their workload during the nearly two-month long Indian Premier League T20 tournament starting on March 23, in their bid to stay fit for the 50-over World Cup in England and Wales beginning on May 30.
The series against Australia, who triumphed against the odds despite the absence of batsmen David Warner and Steve Smith, was the last time the Indian side will play together before then, with the players now due to join their IPL sides.
Kohli said there should be no pressure in the annual T20 extravaganza -- when top players earn millions of dollars.
“Exactly what we spoke in the change room was, ‘just go and enjoy these two months in the IPL’. Don’t think of performance or pressure,” said Kohli.
“All the workload will be monitored,” he added. “Everyone knows that no one wants to miss the World Cup and cost the team good balance.”
Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2019