Virat Kohli underlines team camaraderie, trust and respect ahead of WI tour departure

India skipper Virat Kohli underlined the camaraderie, trust and respect within the team as the one of the key factors to the team’s success in recent times, rubbishing claims of any rift among the team members – especially between ODI vice-captain Rohit Sharma and himself-  as a bunch of lies, ahead of the team’s departure to West Indies for  a month-long  tour which includes three T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests.

“In my opinion, it’s baffling and ridiculous to read such stuff,” said Kohli during the pre-departure press conference in Mumbai. “Public talks about how well we’ve played, and here we’re feeding lies and talking about negative things. And I’ve seen this being brought up for far too long now. It’s bizarre how people are creating these things. You enter the dressing room and witness for yourself the kind of healthy atmosphere that’s there. The lies are made to look believable.”

The skipper also went on insist that if the atmosphere within the team was not healthy, it would have been tough for the team to produce the kind of results that they have produced. “We wouldn’t have had the kind of performances we’ve had if the dressing room atmosphere wasn’t a good one. The kind of performances we’ve had is only possible due to the camaraderie, trust and understanding in our team.

“We are living and breathing in getting Team India to the top, and here some people are doing there best to bring us down. The friendship and camaraderie is there for everyone to see,” he added. ALSO READ: Sunil Gavaskar questions Virat Kohli’s automatic selection as captain post World Cup, calls selectors lame ducks

After India’s exit at the 2019 World Cup in the semi-final, Kohli’s role as a skipper was questioned, but after being retained as the Indian captain for all three formats, he said the team has to move on from the World Cup disappointment and the WI tour provides a perfect opportunity for that. “The basic message was to try out a few players we had in mind. The ODI side is more or less balanced. I am particularly excited about the first three T20Is. Some youngsters have shown great composure in tournaments such as the IPL and this is a opportunity to work with a new set of players and whatever happened in the World Cup, well, it is disappointing, but we have to move and on,” the skipper added.ALSO READ: After reports of rift in India’s ODI team, BCCI wants one of the senior players to douse the flames

 

Dinesh Karthik, who was in India’s World Cup 2019 squad, was dropped while Hardik Pandya, Prithvi Shaw and Jasprit Bumrah were not picked as they were unavailable. Bumrah, who is not a part of the ODI and T20I squads, is picked for the two-match Test series in Caribbean.

Indian squads for the West Indies tour:

T20Is: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Krunal Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar and Navdeep Saini.

ODIs: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kedar Jadhav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed and Navdeep Saini.

Tests: Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk) Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav.