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Kohli: We weren’t aware of what we had to do on that pitch

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India’s batsmen “weren’t aware enough of what we had to do on that kind of pitch,” Virat Kohli has said after the hosts managed a below-par 124 for 7 in their eight-wicket drubbing against England in the opening T20I in Ahmedabad. India’s batsmen came a cropper against England’s fast bowlers who regularly breached the 140kmh mark – and Mark Wood even crossed 150kmh a few times – as India’s top three scored only five runs together, and Shreyas Iyer was the only one to cross 25 with his 67 off 48.

Kohli said they would have to come up with “clarity of plans” for the next game, which will be held at the same ground on Sunday.

“We just weren’t aware enough of what we had to do on that kind of pitch, I think lack of execution of the shots that we tried to play out there in the middle is something we have to address as batsmen that it wasn’t an ideal day on the park,” he told Star Sports at the post-match presentation. “You have to accept your faults, come back in the next game with a bit more intent, clarity of plans, what are the areas you want to hit.

“It was a strange kind of a start for us. The wicket didn’t allow you to hit the kind of shots you wanted to. Shreyas’ innings was an example of how you could use the depth of the crease, ride the bounce because there was variable bounce at times, and hit the areas square of the wicket which others failed to do. It was just a below-par batting performance from us today and England made us pay for it.”

Like he had said on the eve of the match, Kohli said the batsmen tried a new approach in this game by batting more freely as India use this five-match series to prepare for the T20 World Cup later in the year, but also said they “probably didn’t spend enough time in the middle to assess the conditions”. Shikhar Dhawan was bowled while hitting across the line against Wood’s express pace for 4 off 12, KL Rahul chopped on, while facing Jofra Archer, for 1, and Kohli slapped Adil Rashid straight to mid-off for a second duck in a row in international cricket.

“We looked to try a few things, but having said that as a batting side you have to accept the conditions,” Kohli said. “If the pitch allows you to play those kind of shots, you can be aggressive from ball one. But we got ahead of ourselves a little bit, probably didn’t spend enough time out there in the middle to assess the conditions. Shreyas did that but there were too many wickets down at that stage to get past 150-160 and had we got, say, eight wickets in hand at the end of 10 overs then we could have got a few more runs and made a game out of it.”

Kohli said falling without scoring was a part of the “ups and downs” in international cricket and even switching formats from Tests to T20Is could not be used as a reason for the loss on Friday.

“It’s not tough (changing formats), we’ve done that in the past,” he said. “I don’t think that that should be a factor within the group. We take a lot of pride playing good white-ball cricket, we have done that in the past, we have won the T20 series we played, and the one before that, and the one before that as well. These five games are the only ones we have before the T20 World Cup, so we need to try a few things as well, but having said that we can’t take anything lightly especially against a team like England which is so strong.”

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