Kohli to settle on India World Cup team before IPL

By Sports Desk March 01, 2019

Virat Kohli aims to have a settled India World Cup team in place ahead of the Indian Premier League later this month.

The 2019 IPL gets under way on March 23, just over two months before the Cricket World Cup in England.

But captain Kohli insists he will not be using the country's domestic limited-overs competition to make key personnel decisions, believing India need to have decided on their line-up before then.

And so extra emphasis is placed on the five-match ODI series against Australia which gets under way on Saturday.

"I don't see the IPL having any influence on World Cup selection," he told a news conference. "I think that would be a very, very radical sort of analysis.

"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 they are out of the picture for the World Cup. Those things are not going to matter."

Kohli will be taking the upcoming ODI matches seriously in their own right - "otherwise I'd leave the ball to hit the stumps," he said - but the series will also be key in World Cup preparation.

Beyond selection calls, the captain wants to see how India bounce back from a pair of Twenty20 international defeats to Australia, with a certain character required at this year's tournament.

"[The T20Is are] done. It was a short series and Australia played better than us, they deserved to win the series," he said. "We'll have to be at our absolute best to win this particular series.

"As far as I see it, when you've not won two games, it's always an opportunity for a team to come back stronger and show character. In a big tournament like the World Cup or any big series, you have to keep coming back. It's not like you'll win all the games all the time.

"All the guys are really excited and really looking forward to doing the basics right, reading situations, doing what's required for the team and doing it well.

"As long as we take this as an opportunity, we're heading in the right direction as a team. We definitely want to be at our best during the series."

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    Despite playing just three one-day internationals, Archer was included in England's 15-man squad for a tournament they are set to enter as favourites.

    The 24-year-old said Kohli was a wicket he wanted to take, while also eyeing West Indies star Chris Gayle.

    Asked about Archer's comments, Kohli said on Thursday: "Did he say that?

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    "If Jofra's said that, it's a big compliment because he himself is a world-class bowler," he said.

    "The way he's come about in the IPL [Indian Premier League] over the past couple of years I've seen him, and playing all around the world, there's good reason why he's been fast-tracked into playing for England in a tournament like the World Cup.

    "I think he's probably going to be their X-factor because he holds a skill set which is very different from anyone else. He can generate a lot of pace which can be intimidating and you don't expect that because of his run-up.

    "The way he's built, he's a great athlete and I'm sure the England team is delighted to have him as well, but he's going to be pretty exciting to watch in the World Cup.

    "I personally will be watching his bowling as well because whatever I've seen of him he's been very, very impressive."

    India begin their tournament by facing South Africa on June 5, six days after England open the event against the same opponents.

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    The case of Simmons is particularly surprising as things seem to have spun in a 180-degree direction.  Only a few months ago the player was selected as the first pick of the 2018 draft for the St Lucia Stars.

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    The much-travelled Simmons previously played for the Jamaica Tallahwahs, Guyana Amazon Warriors and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.  The 36-year-old Smith, who previously opened for Barbados Tridents and Amazon Warriors, also found himself without a team after entering in the $US 70,000 category.

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