Pune: “Kedar Jadhav’s innings was one of the best calculative knocks that I have seen. It was outstanding,” said Virat Kohli as he praised the Maharashtra batsman after India stunned England in the first ODI, while chasing 351, here on Sunday.
While Virat lived up to his reputation of a master chaser, Kedar’s second ODI ton also played a pivotal part in India’s three-wicket win over the Eoin Morgan-led side.
“He (Kedar) knew how he wanted to bat on this pitch. I think it was outstanding, just to have another guy that was willing to believe we can win from any situation was such a boost for me as well. I'm glad I was out there with him, to keep pushing him,” added Kohli, who scored 122 off 105 balls and put up a 200-run partnership in 147 balls with Kedar, who slammed 120 off 76 balls.
“He put a lot of pressure on the spinners and they couldn't come back into the game. Striking the ball at 150 was outstanding. All of them were clean shots, he didn’t slog the ball once. He was brilliant and that's why we back him to play at number 6. He was disappointed in the last series against New Zealand when he couldn't get us across the line. In New Delhi also he was playing really well. We told him that the best place you can learn is out there in the middle. No point sitting outside and thinking what you could have done. He will understand how to do it again and again. If you ask me describe his innings, it was outstanding,” said the Indian skipper.
India were tottering in chase having lost four wickets with just 63 runs on the board before Kohli and Kedar turned the tide in India’s favour.
“This was one of the best partnerships I have been part of. We have chased 350 before, but not with 63/4. This win gives a lot of confidence. We keep speaking in the changing room that it is not about the number of games played but It is about brains. We had a gut feel that we had a chance when we would be 160-4. (It is) Really good positive start and we look to carry it on through. (This is) Something really special and stay with me for a long time,” Kohli said.
“We figured out how to tackle the situation. I think the best thing that came out was to counter attack. I don't think any of the wickets we lost was because of good balls. We committed errors. It was even better to bat on in the second innings as compared to the second innings. We thought we could play percentage cricket and keep taking that calculated risks in the middle. The ball travels very very fast here. We could hit sixes to put that pressure every now and then on the opposition,” added Kohli.
India will now have only two more ODIs before the team heads for Champions Trophy 2017 in England in June. When asked what impact the win in the first ODI will have on the series, Kohli said: “That’s exactly what we spoke about. We don’t have the time to get a feel of the series and see how the first game goes. We have to be on top from the game one. The way the whole team responded. We were put under pressure, but the way we came out, I think it just builds our confidence going into the next game and then the next and then the big tournament that's coming up in England. The more the team believes in itself and comes back from these kind of situations, it's a very good space to be in.”
The stadium had gone completely silent after India had lost Dhoni and were 63-4. Kohli, when asked what he thought about it, said: “When the ground went silent, I thought it was Sunday, so might as well give the crowd some entertainment. Poor folks, they have come all the way. I am just joking. But honestly, we were thinking about how to build the partnership and take the game close.”
The Indian skipper, who now has 15 match-winning tons in a chase, was pivotal in an emphatic run-chase. However, he was graceful enough to take Kedar Jadhav’s name when asked who should be the one person who should be credited for this win.
“I would give the entire team the credit. You can’t win it with one man. If you want to give credit to one man, that would be Kedar Jadhav,” concluded Kohli....