India vs England: After a much-needed break, fresh off the block Virat Kohli & Co have their game faces on with the captain firing warning shots to his English counterpart Joe Root. If England is aiming to win the series, Kohli’s Team India are targeting nothing less with the captain declaring that Jasprit Bumrah & Co are capable of bowling out England twice and can do that consistently.
On Monday, Joe Root fired the warning shot at Virat Kohli saying he is looking to score big runs and winning the 1st Test at Trent Bridge and the five-match series will be the target.
“I’d be more excited with us winning: win the first Test, start well, try to win the series. I know if I score big runs it gives us the opportunity to win the game. That side will look after itself. But Test cricket is not about you, it’s not about you as an individual, it’s about winning for England and contributing towards that,” Joe Root said at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
But Virat Kohli isn’t someone to take everything that comes his way. He fired back on Tuesday, making Team India and his intentions absolutely clear: play it as any other series and win it.
Furthermore, he warned Root that Jasprit Bumrah and his other pacers are going to take advantage of the grassy pitch and overcast conditions too and batsmen won’t back down against
“I am confident in our bowlers. no matter who bats, we are capable of bowling England out consistently throughout the series. As far as Broad & Anderson are concerned, we will respond on the pitch and won’t ignore it. We are well prepared to give them an able response,” Virat Kohli declared.
While Joe Root will enjoy home comforts and will aim to win the series again and take revenge for thrashing in India a few months, Virat Kohli has a point to prove in England. Although he batted well in 2018, under his captaincy, India lost the series badly in a 1-4 result. But Kohli says the team is better prepared this time and will match England in every department.
“We are definitely much better prepared than we have been in the past. But you can have all the experience in the world but it all boils down to execution, as long as we embrace that, we will find the answers to every question that is being thrown at us,” Virat Kohli said.
However, both teams will be without their star all-rounders. If England’s Ben Stokes in on an indefinite break, India’s Hardik Pandya is struggling to keep his fitness level up to bowl 30 overs in Test cricket. While Joe Root said cricket is secondary to Ben Stokes’ mental health, Virat Kohli is already planning to groom Shardul Thakur as a stop-gap solution for Hardik Pandya.
“From my point of view, I just want my friend to be OK. I had a conversation with Ben and that’s when I found out. The call will stay between the two of us but for me it was hard to see a friend like that. Cricket has to be a secondary thought, a long way down the line and he should take as much time as he needs,” Joe Root said of Ben Stokes.
“In my opinion, there’s no one that compares to Ben Stokes in world cricket. He’s been incredible, he’s the heartbeat of this team. But that does present opportunities for others to step up to the plate and put in big performances. “We have found ways to win without Ben there,” Root added.
Virat Kohli too supported Ben Stokes’s break from cricket citing how continuous bio-bubbles taking a toll on the mental health of elite cricketers. But like Stokes’ absence, Hardik Pandya’s fitness problems have also left a gaping hole in Team India. Kohli said Shardul Thakur is someone who could play a similar role.
“He already is a multi-dimensional cricketer and it is all about him giving more and more confidence. Someone like him brings balance to the side, Hardik Pandya has done for us in the past, right now he is getting on track to bowling regularly. These kinds of cricketers help the team in a massive way. Shardul is a huge prospect for us, he will be important to us not just in this series, but going ahead as well,” Kohli said.