Pune: Skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday conceded that India badly missed an all-rounder in the third ODI and hoped the return of Kedar Jadhav will provide the side much-needed balance in the last two matches of the series.
India failed to chase down 284 to win in the third ODI despite Kohli’s third successive century. India managed just 240 and lost by 43 runs. Kohli blamed his bowlers for allowing West Indies to post 283 for 9 after having reduced the visitors to 227 for 8 in 43.5 overs.
“We bowled well, the wicket wasn’t offering much in the first 35 overs. In the latter half, it became difficult. From 227 for 8 we should’ve been chasing 250-260, max, but we gave away a little in the last 10 overs and should’ve closed it out better,” Kohli said.
“Look when Hardik Pandya and Kedar both play, we get the extra option. When someone like Hardik is not playing, who gives you both bowling and batting option, it is difficult to get the balance. Kedar comes into the side in the next game, that’ll give us the balance and depth in the batting. You will always drift to one side when you don’t have the balance. We have to think about the perfect balance we need.”
Pandya had suffered a back injury last month during the Asia Cup and is out of action since then. The India captain also said they needed to build partnerships. “It was a pretty gettable total. We couldn’t get partnerships, which doesn’t happen often. We didn’t execute our plans properly.”
Kohli showered accolades on West Indies for their first win on the tour. “West Indies is an explosive side, capable of beating anyone on their day, and they deserved to win,” he said. Kohli on Saturday became the first Indian and 10th overall to score three successive hundreds in the One-day format.
Asked about his innings, Kohli said: “I don’t want to talk about my batting. It is a bit embarrassing when people ask you the same thing again and again.” The India skipper said he should have executed his plans better against Marlon Samuels who removed him in the 42nd over to derail India’s chase.
“I wanted to go after Marlon, but didn’t execute it better. We have to take wins and losses in our stride, just a bad day in the office. We just need to execute our plans better,” he said.
West Indies skipper Jason Holder praised his team for an “outstanding” performance. “Credit to the boys. I thought we played an outstanding game. It was important to go deeper for me, something to learn there, but credit to the guys. We hung in the game, which was very important.”
Holder singled out Ashley Nurse for special praise after he was adjudged the Man of the match for scoring a 22-ball 40 which helped West Indies post 283-9 and then returning to take two wickets for 43 runs. “Nurse was outstanding, I know what to expect from him, so it was good to see him get wickets and keep things tight. I think the guys are learning better. We still have areas to touch upon,” he said.
Nurse said he played freely and backed himself to go for the big shots. “I guess it was my day. I played with a lot of free spirit. When Shai got out, I had to do something because the score was not that big. Sometimes you can be the hero, sometimes it can go down to zero as well,” he said.
“It was a very good performance by the boys. No one gave us a chance when we came but I think we’re showing the public out here that we are here to play,” said Nurse at the post-match media conference. “It’s just good to see the boys play consistent cricket and giving India a run for their money,” he said.
Nurse said the wicket in Pune was “pretty good”. “It was a good wicket but a bit on the slower side. Don’t think the wicket had any devils in it. I just thought from our side Shai got a nice 95 and Virat got a hundred for India. It wasn’t a belter. You had to work for your runs but it was a pretty good wicket,” he added.
Nurse also said that he does not care about critics. “Every day is fishing day but every day is not catching day. So I just go and put the ball in the right areas, try to create as much chances as possible. And just try do my job, not really care about the critics, just go and do my job for the team each and every day,” the 29-year-old signed off.