The T20I series between India and England starts on Friday (March 12) at Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad. Ahead of the five-match leg, Indian skipper Virat Kohli showed his excitement over the inclusion of some fresh faces in the squad, stating they would provide much-needed ‘X-factor and depth’ to the batting unit.
The Indian selectors have picked consistent performers from the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the England series. Players like Surya Kumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Tewatia have received their maiden call-ups in the shortest format. Moreover, the in-form Rishabh Pant is also making a comeback in the T20I outfit.
Kohli said that he doesn’t want his side to play in a pattern they have played in the past. He explained that from this series (vs England) onwards, Team India would much more freely as they have explosive guys in the group who can change the game at any stage.
“The players have added in the squad is precisely to give our batting more depth and not play in a similar kind of pattern we have played with in the past. We want to be a side that plays free cricket. We have explosive guys in the team who can change the game at any stage, and that is exactly what we have tried to address,” said Kohli in a virtual presser.
“If you look at the squad, the additions we have tried to address a few things we needed in specific. Guys who can be ‘x factors’ with the bat and do things which are the need of the hour in T20 cricket. These guys have done so on a regular basis in the IPL. It will be interesting to see how they go about in these five games,” he added.
Kohli was also asked about the possibility of Ravichandran Ashwin’s comeback in the T20I squad. Ashwin, who had a tremendous season in the whites, hasn’t donned the blue jersey since July 2017. The offie has played 46 T20Is, taking 52 wickets at an economy of 6.97.
However, Kohli ruled out all the chances of Ashwin’s comeback, saying they already have Washington Sundar in the squad. Kohli asserted that Sundar is doing well for the team, and it’s difficult to have two similar players in the line-up.
“Washington has been doing really well for us, so you can’t have two players of the same discipline playing in one squad. Unless Washi has a drastically horrible season and things go south for him….” said Kohli.
The Indian captain seemed unhappy with the question as he suggested to ask some logical queries.
“The question has to be asked with some kind of logic as well. You suggest where you would add Ash (Ashwin) and play him in the team when someone like Washington already does that job for the team. It’s easy to ask the question, but you should have a logical explanation to it yourself,” Kohli added further.