India does not play for rankings, says Kohli
Port of Spain, Aug 23 (IANS) India’s Test skipper Virat Kohli said that the team is not too much concerned about losing the No.1 position in the longest format of cricket as they don’t play for rankings.
India had to win the fourth and final Test against hosts West Indies to hold on to their No.1 Test spot, but with rain playing spoilsport, and the match ending in a draw, Pakistan were promoted to No.1 spot from second for the first time.
India had already won the Test series 2-0 against the West Indies.
“Had Pakistan not won, had we drawn the last game, the rankings would have looked different again. It is a very short-term incentive because we understand that the points’ table is very close,” Kohli told reporters after winning the series here.
“But as a team we think we can assess ourselves at the end of this season, not one Test at a time,” he added.
“The other teams have played more games than us and we need to play as many games to be able to compare after the whole season is done. Rankings keep going up and down, and you don’t play for rankings. You want to be the best side in the world and that has always been our aim.”
Kohli also praised seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha, terming the duo as the biggest positive of the tour.
Both Ashwin and Saha struck a century each in the third Test to help India recover from the top-order batting collapse in the first innings.
“It’s been a pretty good tour for us. We had come here looking to improve in a few areas and we have done that. For me, the biggest positive is Wriddhiman Saha getting runs in the lower order, plus R Ashwin coming good at No 6,” he said.
“I hope we can keep on improving this aspect of our game because there are positions, which matter a lot in Test cricket. Whenever teams have done consistently well in Test cricket, their lower order has always contributed. So, those were the areas for us to solidify,” the skipper added.
India will now travel to Florida to play two-match Twenty20 International series against the West Indies on August 27-28.
But the big Test starts when New Zealand travels to India to kick off the long home season. The first of the 13 Tests begins in Kanpur in September. And Kohli said his team is right on track.
“We needed improvement here in the lower order. If we play five bowlers then you know the top order can bat freely and will not play in pressure. So we can put up good totals. Bowlers are taking responsibility, bowling to a plan and they are not selfish,” he said.
“It is very important to be selfless in the team and it is a quality of this team. This team has developed this attitude and we have to keep at it if we want to become the best team in the world,” the 27-year-old added.
“If we drift from this plan, and drift into our individual preparations, then the plan gets disturbed. We have addressed that and responded to it. That’s why we have won quite a few matches in the last 15 months.”