India doesn’t play for rankings: Virat Kohli

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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.

India’s Test captain Virat Kohli heaped praise on Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami after India sealed the series 2-0 against West Indies on Tuesday.

Kohli said that he was pleased to see Shami and Bhuvneshwar back in full fitness during the India-West Indies series. The captain also expressed that the Indian team doesn’t play for rankings but they want to be a competitive side.

Kohli said the team is satisfied with the outcome of the series as the fourth Test ended in a draw after wet outfield led to abandonment of the match at the Queen’s Park Oval.

“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 said after winning the series here.

“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.”

Pakistan cricket team celebrate ‘incredible journey’ to No.1 in Test Rankings

Only 22 overs were bowled in the rain-affected Test, but India’s team selection was once again a surprise. Both Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara were included in the playing eleven as the visitors went in with four bowlers for the first time in the series.

“We lost a Test in Galle, when we were a batsman short. Even in the home series against South Africa, we were struggling on quite a few occasions because of lack of a batsman. So we wanted to try this combination out, though the game didn’t happen here.

“If we play four specialist bowlers at home we may not need the fifth, because if you play with three frontline spinners at home, it probably does the job for you. So we thought even if we play two spinners and two pacers, Rohit Sharma and Vijay can give those 10 extra overs. Away from home you need all your best bowlers playing because you don’t need how the wickets will play.

“We are going to play world-class sides at home that are going to capitalize on the window of chance we give them. So it was just something we wanted to try out. We should be flexible,” he explained.

Talking about the 2-0 result in the series against a side ranked eighth in the Tests, the skipper said, “The amount of cricket we played, I think it’s a pretty fair representation.”

“We lost a day of cricket in Jamaica. But let’s give credit to West Indies who showed resilience and played really good cricket on day five there. That’s what you expect from a Test playing nation. Here (Trinidad) we didn’t have a game and we couldn’t control the result. The other two games we played, we won convincingly and that pleased the whole squad.”

Talking about India’s lost chance to remain at the top of the ICC Test rankings, Kohli said they do not play for the rankings.

“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. But as a team we think we can assess ourselves at the end of this season, not one Test at a time.

“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.”

Team India now flies off to Florida to play two T20s against the West Indies this coming weekend. But the Test cricket will resume soon, with New Zealand travelling to kick off the long-haul home season. The first of the 13 Tests begins in Kanpur on September 22.

“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.

“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.

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