Virat Kohli says Kolkata pitch ‘perfect scenario’ for Champions Trophy

India captain Virat Kohli said the seaming pitch at Eden Gardens was perfect for testing out the team’s potential at the Champions Trophy. India lost the third ODI by five runs but won the series 2-1 against England.

This was the last ODI, India were scheduled to play before the Champions Trophy to be held in England in June. “The moment I saw the pitch I thought it was the perfect scenario for the Champions Trophy. The batsman had to show character and getting as close as five runs gives us a lot of confidence,” said Kohli at the post-match presentation.

“The key for us will be the lengths we bowl. We’ve been playing at home for a while. Even here we weren’t sure. That’s one area we would look to address, what are the areas we need to hit to get batsmen out,” said Kohli.

India (316/9) lost to England (321/8) by five runs in the third and final DI.

Kedar Jadhav was declared Man of the Series for his 232 runs in three matches but was clearly disappointed for not getting team across the line in the third ODI here on Sunday. “I was planning to play all six balls, I knew if I could do that the bowler will be under pressure. Just that the ball I got out to, I was not in position to hit the big shot, I was still moving and that is why I mistimed,” he said.

Jadhav said he has benefitted immensely from spending time with MS Dhoni ever since he entered the setup. “The thing is, since the time I came in the team, I’ve been spending a lot of time with Dhoni and it has helped me deal with situations calmly. Especially if you pitch it up there was some movement and that is why I didn’t want to come forward. I wanted to stay back and with the dew, I knew normal shots will get me boundaries,” he said.

Jadhav, nevertheless, was happy with his overall performance. “In the first game, Virat told me this is the time to learn to finish games and that is exactly what I told Hardik today as well. I would have been happier if we won this game, but it is satisfying. But I can do better than this,” he said.

Kohli said Jadhav’s improvement allows Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni to bat freely. “Jadhav is a brilliant find for us. We’ve backed him over the last year, he hasn’t had many games, but he is coming into his own, he gives Yuvi and Dhoni the chance to bat higher and he reads the game well. It’s priceless and Hardik is coming into his own as all-rounder as well,” he said.

England’s Chris Woakes said the conditions were tough but they were happy to end the ODI series with a win

“Tough conditions (in Kolkata). It was good to get the win against a tough Indian side in front of this crowd. It was nice to bowl on this pitch but at the same time you miss your length and you get hit for four,” Woakes said.

“It’s something we struggled to do, picking wickets consistently through the middle. Good to close out with a win. My first time here, beautiful ground. We’d have liked to have won the series, but credit to the Indians who have played some really good cricket.”