Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 17 November 2019

Ravi Shastri unconcerned by Virat Kohli's IPL form ahead of Cricket World Cup 2019

India coach says: 'You wear that blue jersey [of India] and you are a different man.

India coach Ravi Shastri is confident Virat Kohli's IPL form will not be a concern come the World Cup in May. AP Photo
India coach Ravi Shastri is confident Virat Kohli's IPL form will not be a concern come the World Cup in May. AP Photo

Ravi Shastri is confident Virat Kohli will show no ill effects from his miserable season leading Royal Challengers Bangalore when he takes charge of India at the World Cup.

RCB are bottom of the Indian Premier League table, having won just one of their eight matches so far.

It means their captain Kohli has tasted success just once in his past 11 matches. That includes the run of three successive defeats for India against Australia in the one-day international series that preceded the IPL campaign.

Kohli’s run-scoring has been moderate by his own extraordinary standards during that sequence of matches.

However, Shastri, the India coach, is certain the adverse run of form will have no bearing on how Kohli and his team perform at the World Cup in England, which starts at the end of next month.

“Not at all,” Shastri said of the idea Kohli must be feeling the effects of the series of defeats in the red of RCB.

“You wear that blue jersey [of India] and you are a different man.”

Even if Kohli was to struggle, Shastri says his side have proven they do not rely exclusively on their captain.

India won the Asia Cup in Dubai last September, even though Kohli was rested for that tournament,.

Shastri says the evidence that they can perform without him goes back longer still.

“If you look at the past five years, the way the Indian team has performed, they have always been in the top two or three,” Shastri said.

“To be in the top two or three for five years in a row, to be the No 1 team in Test match cricket, to be again in the top three in T20, you can’t depend on one player.

“To have that kind of consistent record, you need a bunch of players performing all the time, and for that, give credit to the team.”

India will begin their World Cup campaign on June 5 when they play South Africa in Southampton.

Shastri, who was in Dubai in his role an ambassador for Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone, thinks the host nation are the team to beat this summer.

“Going by the ICC rankings, I would say England have been the most consistent team over the past two years,” he said.

“They have multidimensional players. They have depth in bowling and batting. And they are playing at home.

“In the rankings, they are the No 1 team in the world, so they would start as favourites. But there are so many teams who can beat another team on any given day.

“In a tournament like the World Cup, you have to be on top of your game every game.”

Updated: April 17, 2019 02:30 PM

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