Having two wrist spinners a huge advantage: Kohli

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Chennai, Sep 16 (IANS) India skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday backed his two wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal to deliver the goods against Australia, stating it’s an advantage to have the two in their arsenal for the five-match One-day International (ODI) series, starting here on Sunday.

“It is a great advantage to have two wrist spinners in your team, especially when both are so different to each other and both can pick up wickets in the middle overs,” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference here.

“It is important to keep picking wickets and have breakthroughs throughout. Those two guys have provided that to us and they are very confident coming into this series.

“They are in a zone where they don’t mind getting hit as long as they pick up three-four wickets which I think is a very good space to be in,” the captain added.

India are coming into the series on the back of a highly successful Sri Lankan sojourn where they drubbed the hosts 9-0 across all the three formats.

But the Aussies led by Steve Smith won’t be easy meat. Kohli said they won’t be treating any series differently.

“No, I don’t think that we need to look at any series differently. As I mentioned in Sri Lanka as well, your preparation should matter more than who you are playing against. So obviously you’ll assess strengths and weaknesses of all sides,” he said.

“You can’t raise or decrease your intensity according to who you are playing against. That’s not being fair to the sport and that’s something that we as a team do not believe in. So, we like to prepare the same way and we like to play with the same kind of intensity regardless of who we are playing against.

On opener Lokesh Rahul expected to fill in the No.4 position with Shikhar Dhawan out of the first three ODIs and Ajinkya Rahane expected to open the batting along with Rohit Sharma, Kohli said: “KL is an outstanding talent. He has proved himself in all formats.”

“And he is someone who needs to be backed. Because we believe that he has the ability. Once he gets his role done, he will start winning us games. We are very sure of that.”

Rahul’s scores against Sri Lanka read 4, 17 and 7 in the three ODIs leading to his axing from the fifth rubber.

The 28-year-old Kohli admitted that it’s not easy to bat at an unfamiliar position but maintained the team should be flexible enough to adapt.

“It takes time, I am not saying it is easy. If you see Jinks (Ajinkya Rahane) as well he has played in the middle order in the ODIs, he plays in the middle order in Test matches.

“He’s also opened a lot in ODIs as well. He also felt that he found it difficult to switch. Now we’re backing Jinks at the top of the order. So he knows the plans are clear,” the skipper said.

“For example, I have opened in the T20 cricket as well.

“So I should be flexible enough to do that. I think it’s up to the player to get versatile in a manner that he can take up different positions what the team requires him to do,” he said.

–IANS

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