India vs South Africa | We Aren’t Playing Random People, But Squad Needs Time: Kohli
India captain Virat Kohli surprised everyone by electing to bat first against South Africa in the final T20I in Bangalore, which the visitors eventually won at a canter by nine wickets with Quinton De Kock smashing an unbeaten 79.
Kohli was hoping to see his batsmen tested by the visitors, and the Proteas did not disappoint. India were 63/2 when Shikhar Dhawan departed and by the time the 15th over ended the hosts were six down for 98.
Coming into the game, India had lost 5 of their last 11 T20Is batting first. It was clearly an area to work on.
“This is exactly what we wanted to do. This is the template we want to follow before the World T20. We should be able to find the answers,” a disappointed Kohli said after the match, justifying the decision to bat although it was the first time a team had done so in Bangalore since 2017.
“In T20 cricket chasing is relatively easier because in other formats you need to bat longer and string partnerships, here a decent partnership of 40-50 in no time can take the game away from you.”
Kohli, who normally scores big at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, had a rare failure when he was dismissed for 9, but worryingly it was the likes of Rishabh Pant (19), Shreyas Iyer (5) and Hardik Pandya (14) who failed to take their chance of leading a fight back with the bat.
“We will try to get the squad composition right as soon as we can,” he said.
“It's not like we are playing random people. They have done well to be here and they are good enough. We will have odd games like these as well, we have got to understand that this is a young side as well.
“We batted till 9 tonight, so that's one area we are looking to strengthen and go into the big tournament with the best possible combination.”
While the Indian batsmen huffed and puffed their way to 134 during the first innings, De Kock and Reeza Hendricks gave the visitors a fantastic start and put together 76 for the opening wicket, which rattled the young Indian attack on a ground which is known for its small boundaries.
“South Africa bowled really well, the pitch suited them really well in the first innings,” Kohli assessed.
Before the series had begun, both Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri had made it clear that they would be looking to get their combinations right and that the team would be okay with the odd defeat in the process.
For now one expects India to go back to the drawing board as they look to prepare for the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.