Virat Kohli, who smashed two centuries and scored 310 runs in the recently, concluded five-match ODI series against Australia, remained the No.1 ODI batsman in the latest ICC rankings which were released. Kohli smashed many records in the series but India still lost the five-match series 2-3 after Australia registered a comeback victory for the first time while trailing the series 0-2. This was India’s first loss at home in a bilateral series since 2015. With the final international assignment done before the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, the focus shifts to the Indian Premier League. Kohli, in the post-match press conference after the Delhi ODI, said the players will have to be ‘smart’ and will have to manage their workload heading into the World Cup.
Now, on the sidelines of a function, Kohli reiterated that there were no caps on the number of games the players play in this edition. “If I'm able to play 10, 12 or 15 games, it doesn't necessarily mean that the other guy can only play that many. My body might demand I play a certain number of games and I need to be smart about that and rest. Someone else's body might be more capable than mine or less, that is a very individual thing. And everyone wants to play the World Cup, so people will be smart about it because you don't want to miss out on such a big event. Each player will take this tournament as an opportunity to go to the World Cup in a good frame of mind,” Kohli said.
Gary Kirsten, the coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore and who helped the Indian cricket team achieve glory in the 2011 World Cup, said the tournament was a great preparation for the Indian players heading into the World Cup which will be played in England as it helps them cope with pressure.
“We have to accept there's not much we can do about that. We understand the demands that an international player has. If you get yourself match-ready during the IPL, that's going to hold you in really good stead during the World Cup. I think it's an advantage to the Indian players, actually. Because the IPL is such a pressurised tournament, it's great preparation for the World Cup,” Kirsten said.
Following the end of the series against Australia, there are some changes when it comes to the team rankings.In the ODI team rankings, England and India are at the top two positions. New Zealand have narrowly edged past South Africa to third spot while Australia have gone past Pakistan to fifth place. South Africa have gained one point while Sri Lanka have lost two points.