No comfort zone

Bengaluru, september 23

India captain Virat Kohli’s decision to bat first against South Africa in the third and final T20I backfired but the 30-year-old says the hosts want to prepare for next year’s Twenty20 World Cup by minimising the impact of the toss.

It was the first time in six T20Is at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium that the captain winning the toss chose to bat, only for a revamped South Africa to claim a series-levelling nine-wicket win on Sunday. “Nothing is a given or a guarantee before you start playing,” Kohli said. “I think if we as a team are willing to get out of our comfort zones a lot more, then we will be unfazed with what happens at the toss. Unless you do that and start taking those risks, you are always going to be put under pressure somewhere or the other. We want to make sure we iron all of those things out before we head into the World Cup,” he said. 

India failed to capitalise on an aggressive start and ended with a below-par 134/9. Ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia in Oct. 2020, Kohli’s top priority is to recalibrate India’s batting combinations in the shortest format. “You have to understand as well that it’s a very young side, you have to give them time as a team to come together,” he added. “We batted till No. 9 tonight, and that’s one area we’re looking to strengthen.” India’s focus now shifts to the three-match Test series against South Africa, with the opening match in Visakhapatnam starting October 2. 

Kohli reprimanded 

Kohli has received an official warning and one demerit point for violating the ICC Code of Conduct for making inappropriate shoulder contact with pacer Beuran Hendricks during the third T20I against South Africa. Kohli was found guilty of a Level 1 breach of the ICC Code of Conduct in the match which South Africa won by nine wickets on Sunday. The incident occurred in the fifth over of India’s innings, when Kohli made contact with Hendricks while taking a run. In addition to this, one demerit point has been added to the disciplinary record of Kohli, for whom it was the third offence since the introduction of the revised Code in September 2016. 

Kohli now has three demerit points after having got one demerit point each during the Pretoria Test against South Africa on January 15, 2018, and against Afghanistan in the ICC World Cup 2019 on June 22. — Agencies

Bumrah’s awkward action is his advantage: Zaheer

Mumbai: Describing Jasprit Bumrah as a “special talent”, former India speedster Zaheer Khan has said that his awkward action has worked to his advantage rather than a weakness. “Bumrah is a special talent, he has got that awkward action which works as an advantage for him over the batsmen. He is keen to learn and drive to excel. He has been working on his fitness, adding new things to his bowling. He has evolved as a bowler in a short time,” Khan said. “It is about how you take things into stride and what kind of approach you have. I think Bumrah has shown all the attitude of achieving that success.” The 40-year-old Khan, who was part of the 2011 World Cup-winning Indian team, also did not read much into the omission of wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal from the Indian squad, saying the World T20 was still away. “They have been transparent about what their approach is. We just have to wait and see how things evolve and shape up. We have plenty of time for the T20 World Cup, so we will have to wait and see how things evolve and what kind of experimentation happens,” he said. Khan also had a piece of advice for young South African pacer Kagiso Rabada, suggested that he should quickly adapt to the conditions and use reverse swing to be successful in India in the upcoming Test series, which begins in Visakhapatnam on October 2.

Pant should drop down from No. 4: VVS 

New Delhi: Rishabh Pant’s natural aggressive game is not working for him at the No. 4 position, says Indian batting great VVS Laxman, who feels the youngster can regain his form by batting lower down the order. Laxman said the solution to Pant’s problems could be as simple as dropping down the order. “The nature of Rishabh Pant’s batting is that he plays aggressive shots... Unfortunately at the international level he is not able to succeed at the No. 4 position,” Laxman said. “Pant should bat at No. 5 and 6, where you have the licence to go out and express yourself. At the moment, he doesn’t know the right method of scoring runs at No. 4.” Laxman said the 21-year-old shouldn’t be put under too much pressure as every player goes through rough patches at some point. Laxman said Shreyas Iyer and Hardik Pandya seem better options for the No. 4 slot as of now.