Virat Kohli believes Hardik Pandya has learned from his mistakes and has backed the India all-rounder's career to go from strength to strength.

On Monday, Pandya made his first appearance since his BCCI ban for making controversial comments on a television show that were perceived as sexist was lifted.

Pandya apologised for his remarks and produced a fine display in Mount Maunganui as India clinched their ODI series with New Zealand.

The 25-year-old claimed 2-45 and took a stunning diving catch in India's seven-wicket win, and Kohli was full of praise for Pandya after bouncing back from his previous misdemeanour.

"In life, there are only two ways to deal with a situation like that," Kohli told a media conference.

"Either you hit rock bottom, or you can learn from the situation and see it as a motivation to make things right.

"For a cricketer, there is nothing more dear than game. You put all your energy in the game; if you respect the game, the game will respect you back. There is no rocket science.

"You don't need to do anything extra. Whoever comes out of it positive, his career can scale new heights, like we have seen with many cricketers in the past.

"I hope he goes on that right path and emerges as a better cricketer and I think he can do that."

Pandya's return helped seal India's series victory with two games to spare and Kohli was delighted to have the talented all-rounder back at his disposal.

He added: "It is very, very good to have him. He provides balance to the team. The way he bowled showed that he went back and was practising his skills. You can tell with his intensity, he picked up two crucial wickets as well.

"He is someone who will give you those important contributions in all three departments. The team also looks much more balanced with him around. He is in a good head space and I hope he can continue with that."

With the series lost, New Zealand have made a couple of changes for the final two ODIs, bringing in Jimmy Neesham and Todd Astle for Doug Bracewell and Ish Sodhi.

Virat Kohli will play no part in the tour of New Zealand beyond the third ODI next week as India opt to rest their captain.

Kohli made 45 from 59 balls to help the visitors to a resounding eight-wicket win in the opening ODI in Napier on Wednesday, but he will only be available for the second and third instalments in Mount Maunganui.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced that the skipper will be rested from the fourth and fifth matches of the series, as well as the three Twenty20 contests that follow.

"Considering his workload in the last few months, the team management and senior selection committee is of the view that it would be ideal for him to get adequate rest ahead of the home series against Australia," read a BCCI statement. 

"There will be no replacement for Mr. Kohli in the squad for the New Zealand series. Rohit Sharma will captain the side in the final two ODIs and T20I series."

On Tuesday, Kohli completed a clean sweep in being named ICC Cricketer of the Year to go alongside his awards in the Test and 50-over formats.

Opposing captains Kane Williams and Virat Kohli were full of praise for each other ahead of New Zealand's five-match ODI series against India.

The Black Caps, ranked third in the world, host the side one place above them in the rankings over what promises to be a thrilling couple of weeks.

In Kohli, India boast the ICC's top-ranked ODI batsman, while earlier on Tuesday he completed a clean sweep in being named ICC Cricketer of the Year to go alongside his awards in the Test and 50-over formats.

And Williamson knows his side have their work cut out against a man who averaged a staggering 133.55 in ODIs in 2018.

"Someone like Virat is certainly a player I admire and enjoy watching and he's pushing the boundaries of the game so that's brilliant," said Williamson, who was included in the Test Team of the Year.

"He's a respectful guy and I've known him for a very long time but as a player, obviously, [he's] world class and our focus is more about that and his cricketing ability and how we can combat him as best as we can.

"He's always a challenge to come up against and is someone who is most admired in terms of how he goes about his cricket and he's formidable in his run scoring so he's definitely a player of note to try to shut down."

And Kohli had kinds words for his opposite number in return ahead of Wednesday's opening ODI in Napier.

"Williamson is easily one of the best players in the world. So easy on the eye, great to watch and I personally enjoy his batting and when he is on song he is easily one of the most attractive batsmen to watch," the India skipper said.

"He is always going to be a solid player for New Zealand purely because of what all he has done over the years in all three formats.

"He more or less makes the team win when he is scoring runs, so that tells you about his awareness about the game and hence he is leading the side and guiding it in the right direction. So Kane will be a factor but at the same time Rosco [Taylor] and other guys as well.

"You can't take anyone for granted and their batting revolves around Kane and Ross in ODIs especially, the other guys bat around them and we are aware of that and working on our plans."

India captain Virat Kohli made history with a clean sweep of three major ICC awards on Tuesday.

After enjoying an incredible 2018, Kohli was named the ICC Cricketer of the Year, Men's Test Player of the Year and ODI Player of the Year.

The 30-year-old becomes the first player to win all three top awards, while he was also named captain of the Test and ODI teams.

Kohli scored 1,322 runs at an average of 55.08 in 13 Tests last year, while he managed 1,202 at an average of 133.55 in 14 ODIs.

"It feels amazing. It's a reward for all the hard work that you do throughout the calendar year. I feel really grateful and very, very happy with the team doing well at the same time as myself performing," he said.

"Having recognition at the global level from the ICC is something you feel proud of as a cricketer because you understand that there are many players playing the game.

"To be rewarded in this manner is obviously a very proud moment for me and something that gives you more motivation to keep repeating the same things because you have to keep the standard of cricket up and keep bringing in consistent performances.

"From that point of view, these awards give you that extra motivation."

South Africa paceman Kagiso Rabada finished second to Kohli for the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy – awarded to the Cricketer of the Year – and for the Test prize.

Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan was runner-up for the ODI award.

Cricketer of the Year: Virat Kohli (India)
Test Player of the Year: Virat Kohli (India)
ODI Player of the Year: Virat Kohli (India)
Emerging Player of the Year: Rishabh Pant (India)
Women's Cricketer of the Year: Smriti Mandhana (India)
Women's T20I Cricketer of the Year: Alyssa Healy (Australia)
Test Team of the Year: Tom Latham (New Zealand), Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka), Virat Kohli (c) (India), Kane Williamson (New Zealand), Henry Nicholls (New Zealand), Rishabh Pant (wk) (India), Jason Holder (West Indies), Nathan Lyon (Australia), Jasprit Bumrah (India), Kagiso Rabada (South Africa), Mohammad Abbas (Pakistan).
ODI Team of the Year: Rohit Sharma (India), Jonny Bairstow (England), Virat Kohli (c) (India), Joe Root (England), Ross Taylor (New Zealand), Jos Buttler (wk) (England), Ben Stokes (England), Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh), Kuldeep Yadav (India), Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Jasprit Bumrah (India).

India captain Virat Kohli believes MS Dhoni is his country's most committed cricketer after the veteran batsman returned to form in the one-day international series against Australia.

Virat Kohli savoured a "classic" MS Dhoni innings which sealed a series-levelling six-wicket one-day international victory over Australia at Adelaide Oval.

Dhoni's place in the India limited-overs sides has been called into question in certain quarters, but the former captain played the finisher role to perfection yet again on Tuesday.

The wicketkeeper-batsman made an unbeaten 55 from only 54 balls to get the tourists home in the final over after a 39th ODI hundred from Kohli (104).

Axed Test batsman Shaun Marsh made 131 from only 123 deliveries as Australia posted 298-9 on a sweltering day, but India pulled off a superb run chase to set up a decider at the MCG on Friday.

Dhoni called for treatment as he struggled in the heat, but smashed his second six off the first ball of the final over from Jason Behrendorff and sealed victory with a single from the next delivery.

Kohli said of the 37-year-old: "There's no doubt that he should be a part of this team.

"When you haven't played so much cricket, you take a bit of time to get back into the groove, and tonight was an MS classic," Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

"He takes the game till the end, but only he knows what's going on in his mind, he calculates the game so well. He backs himself to hit those big shots when required. So hats off to him."

Kohli also praised the role played by Dinesh Karthik, who made 25 not out from only 14 balls.

"Dinesh as well, just taking a little bit of pressure off him at that stage when he [Dhoni] was tired," Kohli said. "I think Dinesh came in and showed the right kind of intent and put those quick runs on the board that were required.

"But yes, MS was as composed as ever. He kept me calm in there as well. He thought I was going to get over-excited and play a bad shot, but that's how we bat well together. We try and help each other, and tonight was special for both of us."

Fazeer Mohammed speaks about India's first series victory over Australia in Australia.

India captain Virat Kohli says Australia's batsmen need to leave their egos at home if they want to retain the Ashes in England later this year.

Australia struggled to put India under pressure during their four-match Test series as their batsmen failed to deliver the big score – Marcus Harris' 79 in Sydney their best.

In contrast, India registered five hundreds – three from Cheteshwar Pujara – and another two scores higher than any Australian, which helped them dominate the series.

India sealed a 2-1 triumph on Monday as rain saw the fourth Test end as a draw, Australia having been asked to follow-on by Kohli.

Australia travel to England in August for the latest instalment of the Ashes and should have Steve Smith and David Warner in their side after their ball-tampering bans.

However, Kohli has warned them they need to be patient if they are to keep hold of the urn.

"If you go out there with an ego, you might as well not go at all," Kohli – who scored 593 runs across five Tests in England in 2018 - told reporters. "Because that Dukes ball, it buries egos pretty quickly.

"You have to curb yourself down and do the hard yards. Grind it out the whole day. You have to be patient as a batsman.

"There's lot of time in Test cricket. But sometimes we are so nervous as batsmen, we don't quite realise it. You just want to get away quickly but in England you're not allowed to do that.

"So, you have to buy your time. And you have to earn the right to score runs eventually.

"But you have to get into a position where you should not even look at the scoreboard to see the number of balls.

"It's inconsequential; patience is the only thing works there and putting runs on the board again is the most important thing to win Test matches."

Australia have not won an Ashes series in England since 2001, but India coach Ravi Shastri believes they could end that wait if they apply themselves this year.

"I think they'll be up to the challenge," he said. "I think Australia has to be patient because in England that Dukes ball will curve around corners.

"So you got to be patient, you got to trust your technique, trust that off-stump and it’s again belief.

"Because you've got the [bowling] attack.

"If anyone tells me that this Australian attack is, you know, not quite there, put your pads on and go and play them, you will find out."

Virat Kohli labelled India's Test series victory over Australia as his biggest achievement, though the star captain warned there is more to come from his side.

Day five of the fourth and final Test was washed out at the SCG in Sydney as India secured a 2-1 series triumph against beleaguered Australia on Monday.

Persistent rain meant the Sydney Test was drawn but top-ranked India still secured their first success in Australia, having already retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

India were on track for another resounding victory before the rain set in, with Australia forced to follow on and still trailing by 316 runs after being bowled out for 300, and Kohli revelled in the result afterwards.

"I want to say I've never been prouder of being part of a team, than this one right here," Kohli said during the post-match presentation. "The culture we've built... our transition began right here, where I took over as captain, and I can't believe that after four years we've won here.

"Just one word to say, 'proud', to lead this team and it's an honour and privilege. The boys make the captain look good. By far, this is my biggest achievement. It's at the top of the pile.

"When we won the 2011 World Cup, I was the youngest member of the side. Saw everyone emotional there, but I didn't feel it. Here, after coming three times, this win means something else. The series win will give us a different identity, and what we've been able to achieve... something to be proud of.

"We spoke about our batting as a team, wanted to do the basics. The old, hard grind. Special mention to [Cheteshwar] Pujara, he's been outstanding in the series, especially after his last time out in Australia. He's one guy willing to accept things, he works on his game, he's the nicest man around, and we feel happy for him… but as a batting group we all contributed.

"The way the bowlers have dictated and dominated, not here but also in England and South Africa, it's something I haven't seen before. Hats off to them, the way they've prepared, their fitness levels, and their mindset. They discuss how to take wickets, and then they dictate their plans to me. It's a revelation in Indian cricket, and something for the bowlers at home to learn. These guys will be looked up to for a long, long time, and they deserve to break the record of the great West Indian fast bowlers.

"This is just a stepping stone for us. The average age is quite low, but most importantly we had the belief: we had that in SA and in England, and when you're working in the right direction then God knows you're honest. We want to do the best for Indian cricket, and this is outstanding, but it's just a stepping stone.

"Australia are always going to be competitive. Every team goes through a transition, and their dominance kept world cricket exciting for so many years. I'm sure they'll regroup as a side and play some exciting cricket in the future.

"We all deserve to enjoy. The celebrations, I assure you, will run long. The boys are physically and mentally drained, and we have no more alarm clocks in the morning. And I want to mention about the crowd as well. They've been outstanding. They never let us feel we're playing away from home. And they deserve this feeling as much as we do."

India marched towards a big victory over Australia before rain washed out play to offer the hosts some relief on day three of the fourth and final Test in Sydney.

Australia battled to 236-6 – in response to India's 622-7 declared – when the match was halted due to bad light and wet weather just before 4:30pm local time at the SCG on Saturday.

The third day was eventually abandoned shortly afterwards, with the beleaguered Australians still 386 runs behind as Peter Handscomb (28 not out) and Pat Cummins (25no) tried to put up a fight.

It was another day of dominance from India, who are seeking their first Test series victory in Australia having already retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

With their backs against the wall, Australia – resuming on 24-0 – made an encouraging start to the morning but that glimmer of hope took a hit when the top order crumbled in a collapse of 24-3.

Usman Khawaja (27) was the first to go when he misjudged a Kuldeep Yadav (3-71) delivery and was caught by Cheteshwar Pujara.

Australia attempted to remain positive, digging deep against pace and spin as they reached 122-1 at lunch, with Marcus Harris a shining light courtesy of his 77.

Harris, however, was unable to build on his promising innings after a moment of indecision saw the opener chop on to his own stumps off Ravindra Jadeja (2-62) for 79.

India struck again through Jadeja, who claimed his second wicket when Shaun Marsh (8) pushed at the ball and was caught at slips, and Australia were quickly reduced to 152-4 as debutant Marnus Labuschagne (38) fell victim to Mohammed Shami (1-54).

Travis Head added 20 and looked set before chipping a full toss back to Yadav as he threw his wicket away in the penultimate over of the second session.

Captain Tim Paine's (5) stay at the crease was brief as Australia's hopes of avoiding the follow-on rested on under-pressure batsman Handscomb and Cummins.

Virat Kohli insists India will not be fuelled by a motivation to make history when they go in search of a Test series win over Australia in Sydney.

The tourists take a 2-1 lead into the fourth and final match, knowing they only need to avoid defeat to become the first India side to win a Test series in Australia.

However, captain Kohli claimed that fact will not be playing on the minds of the top-ranked team.

Asked if the India players had thought about the prospect of achieving something none of their compatriots have managed in years gone by, the skipper said: "If you ask me very honestly, no.

"Because what has gone is not in our control and what is going to come is not something we need to think about.

"We need to stay in the present and focus on the things we can do. We need to figure out what the controllables are and focus on them.

"The reason why we want to win this Test is because we understand, as cricketers, how difficult it is to come here and play.

"It's not only the team you are playing against, it's the whole nation because they get behind the team so well. When you walk into bat, you feel like 40,000 want your wicket, not just the 11 guys in the field.

"We understand how difficult it is and purely to take that challenge on, we want to win here. It's got nothing to do with proving we have done something which hasn't been done in the past. 

"The motivation has never been to change history, it's only been to overcome the challenge that's in front of you."

It remains to be seen if Ravichandran Ashwin [side strain] plays any part after the spinner was ruled out then later added to the squad for a match which gets under way on Thursday.

 

Opta facts

- India have defeated Australia just once in 11 Test matches at the SCG, having not won at the famous ground since 1978 – when they won by an innings and two runs.

- Australia will be out to avoid three consecutive Test series defeats for the first time since late 1985, after losing series in 2018 to South Africa and Pakistan.

- Australia have lost just once in their last 17 Test matches at the SCG (W13, D3) and are undefeated in their last seven Tests at the venue.

Ravichandran Ashwin was added back to India's squad, having been ruled out of the fourth and final Test against Australia.

India announced on Wednesday that star spinner Ashwin had failed a fitness test and would miss the Sydney Test with a side strain.

But just hours later, India said "a decision on R Ashwin's availability will be taken on the morning of the Test" ahead of day one at the SCG on Thursday.

Ashwin has missed the past two Tests with an ongoing abdominal issue as India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with victory in Melbourne.

Star seamer Ishant Sharma, meanwhile, was left out of the 13-man squad and replaced by Umesh Yadav with Virat Kohli's team seeking to become the first India side to win a Test series in Australia.

Ishant has taken 11 wickets in the series at an average of 23.81, including three during the Boxing Day Test.

India also recalled opener KL Rahul, who was axed ahead of the third Test at the MCG.

 

India squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, K Yadav, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav.

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been ruled out of the fourth and final Test against Australia due to an ongoing abdominal issue.

Veteran Ashwin was hoping to feature in Sydney on Thursday, having missed the past two Tests with a side strain sustained in Adelaide, where he finished with figures of 6-149.

However, the 32-year-old failed a fitness test and was ruled out by captain Virat Kohli, whose team have already retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as they seek to become the first India side to win a series in Australia.

"It's unfortunate that he's had two niggles that are quite similar in the last couple of away tours," Kohli told reporters at the SCG on Wednesday. "It's something he will focus on to correct.

"The physio and trainer have spoken to him about what he has to do. He's very important in Test cricket, he's a vital part of the team. We need him to be 100 per cent fit.

"He's very disappointed he hasn't recovered in time."

Fellow spinner Ravindra Jadeja is expected to stay in the side following his exploits during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, where he claimed five wickets in the 137-run victory.

 

India captain Virat Kohli believes it is "very scary" just how well paceman Jasprit Bumrah has started his Test career.

Bumrah, 25, made his Test debut in January and has taken 48 wickets at an average of 21.02 in nine matches in 2018.

The paceman helped India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on Sunday as they beat Australia by 137 runs in Melbourne to take a 2-1 lead in the four-Test series.

Bumrah was named the player of the match after taking 9-86 and Kohli hailed the right-arm paceman.

"The way he has matured in Test cricket and the areas he is bowling so soon, so quickly in his Test career is a very scary sign for all the batsmen around the world," Kohli told a news conference.

"In Test cricket if there is a pitch like Perth, I wouldn't want to face Jasprit Bumrah to be honest, because once he's on a roll he can really crank it up."

Bumrah had already impressed in the limited-overs formats before getting his chance in Tests.

Kohli said Bumrah's approach was what separated him from other fast bowlers around the world.

"He was showing amazing levels of energy and fitness in white-ball cricket, hence, he was so good because he was not giving runs with the new ball, he was getting wickets and then he would come back in the death overs and not one loose delivery," he said.

"He was training like he wanted to play Test cricket. The mindset he has is what separates him from anyone else in the world.

"He looks at a pitch and he doesn't think it's a hard toil, he thinks wickets, he thinks 'how can I make a breakthrough?' for the team.

"Your mindset separates you from the rest."

Virat Kohli insisted the job was not done yet for India despite retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by winning the third Test against Australia.

India wrapped up a 137-run victory in Melbourne on Sunday, taking a 2-1 lead in the four-Test series.

But Kohli said there was still work to do for his team, who want to become the first India outfit to secure a Test series win in Australia.

"We're not going to stop here," he told a post-match presentation.

"This has only given us more confidence to go out in Sydney and play even more positive cricket.

"I think we've been really smart with all the departments in the two matches that we've won and that's why we at least retain the trophy, but the job is not done yet, it's not finished at all.

"We want to win the last Test as well if the opportunity comes our way and that's the mindset we are playing with since we started in South Africa.

"We don't want to change that at all, regardless of the results. When we lose, you don't want to take that result into account so when you win, there's no point being complacent."

Jasprit Bumrah was named the player of the match after taking 9-86 during the third Test.

But Kohli was happy with his bowling attack as a whole and the way they worked together.

"I certainly feel proud as captain to see all these guys bowling well in partnerships," he said.

"No one is trying to outdo another guy, it's all about what the team wants and the kind of breakthroughs we want at different stages and that's why they're so special and good together."

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