Indian National Cricket team skipper Virat Kohli has refused to brand his side as the favourites in the upcoming ICC World Cup in England and Wales. The showpiece event will start on May 30 and run until July 14. Meanwhile, host national England will play the tournament opener against South Africa at the Oval.
The men in blues, however, had a setback in their leg of preparation ahead of the pinnacle event. They lost the five-match series against Australia 3-2 after going 2-0 up in the series. The loss has raised many questions despite Virat Kohli admitting that they are not thinking about it. The middle-order has looked wobbly while the bowling – who has done incredibly well in the last 12 months, looked totally out of socks.
After an early flourish by the Australian batsmen, Indian bowlers pulled things back to contain them go past 300 runs. Usman Khawaja continued his superb form to score another hundred – his second of the series while Peter Handscomb chipped in with a fifty. Besides, useful contributions from Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins helped Australia post 272 runs. Meanwhile, during the chase, the host nation never looked in line to chase down the target. Shikhar Dhawan departed early as skipper Virat Kohli tried to stitch a partnership with Rohit Sharma leading the charge. But Adam Zampa wreaked havoc picking three wickets in quick succession to throw India out of the game. Although Kedar Jadhav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar added 91 runs for the seventh wicket, it was not enough to change the course of the game.
Every team is a threat
The 3-2 snub against the Aussies will be in the back of the Indian National Cricket team players as they look forward to the upcoming Indian Premier League. Quizzed about India starting as the favourites in the World Cup, Virat Kohli denied to accept it saying that every team is a threat. He also pointed out that it is crucial to pick the momentum right at the start.
“Honestly, every team at the World Cup is a threat. Anyone who gets on a roll at a World Cup, it’s very, very difficult to stop that team,” Kohli said in the press conference after the ODI series conclusion in Delhi. “Having said that, any team who’s on a roll can be knocked out in the semis… they can be defeated immediately by a side that’s more brave on that particular day and wants it more and is more expressive as a side,” he added.
The talismanic run-scorer also revealed that no team would start as the favourites. Every side have the mettle to beat any team on a given day and cricket’s premier event is likely to witness some cracker of a game.
“I don’t think any team starts the World Cup as favourites. Any team is dangerous. You see how the West Indies has come along. They are going to be a serious threat at the World Cup as well because of the balance that they’ve been able to crack. England has been a very strong side, Australia is now looking balanced, we are a strong side, New Zealand is good, Pakistan can defeat anyone on their day,” Kohli concluded.