'I'm not the captain or coach to decide on selection matters'
India's batting mainstay Virat Kohli has come out in support of his under-fire teammate Ishant Sharma, who has been pulverised by the Australian batsmen during the T20 International and first ODI of the ongoing series.
"I don't think you can drop a player on the basis of two poor matches. Ishant has had some good performances in England (Champions Trophy) and West Indies. Especially in England, he was an important bowler for us. You can't just write off somebody like that," he said defending the lanky speedster, who had figures of 0 for 52 in four overs in T20 International and 0 for 56 in seven overs in the first ODI.
Asked if Ishant should be dropped, Kohli told reporters at the pre-match press conference: "In T20s, everyone gets hit. Even Australian bowlers went for 200 plus score. They didn't change their bowlers in the next match.
"This is my opinion and rest is on the team management. I am not the captain or the coach to decide on selection matters."
Image: Virat Kohli
'The Australian pace is in our mind'
Kohli did admit that the pace of the Australian bowlers will be something they need to watch out for rather than short-pitched stuff.
"Their pace is in our mind but short-pitch deliveries can be bowled by anyone. It's not a special trait for Australia, England or South Africa. Even Sri Lanka and Pakistan also use short-pitched stuff.
"I have always said that if you see the mode of dismissals, it's more about catch in slips, leg before or bowled. Very few batsmen get out to short deliveries.
"It's not a wicket-taking delivery but a tactic used by teams. But at international level, one should be ready to play any delivery that is thrown at him," Kohli opined.
Image: Australian team celebrates fall fo an Indian wicket
'Ours is a new team and experience comes by playing matches'
The immensely talented right-hander doesn't want to read too much into his team's 72-run defeat in the first one-dayer.
"It was one such days when we didn't do well. I feel that we fielded pretty well but our bowling wasn't up to the mark. Also we lost wickets at crucial times. I got a start but couldn't convert into a big score which has always been my aim."
Kohli was of the opinion that Indian bowlers have done well in one-dayers but 'death bowling' is something that the youngsters will only get better at as they play more matches.
"If you look at the last 20 ODIs that we have played before this series, only once did our bowlers bowl badly. That was during a match in West Indies tri-series where the bowlers went for 340 against Sri Lanka.
"Yes, death bowling is an area where we need to improve. Ours is a new team and experience comes by playing matches. Bowling at the death requires certain amount of skill which we develop over a period of time," the captain-in-waiting explained.
Image: Shikhar Dhawan and Duncan Fletcher
'Jaipur track will be equal for both teams'
Kohli has had a look at the Sawai Man Singh stadium strip and termed it as a "usual Jaipur track".
Although there is good bounce and carry on the strip, Kohli feels "it will be equal for both teams".
"At the end, you need to play proper cricketing strokes to get value for your shots." Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin skipped the training session while all others attended but Kohli said that the session was optional as everyone is fit and available for selection.
Image: Team India in a huddle
'It's a pretty good Australian team with a lot of self belief'
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's deputy was effusive in his praise for the Australian team.
"It's a pretty good Australian team with a lot of young talent and self belief. Our batsmen need to plan much better and express themselves against their bowlers."
He disagreed that Shane Watson and James Faulkner, having played a lot of matches in Jaipur, will be an advantage for the Australians.
"They have played a lot of T20 cricket in Jaipur but 50-over cricket is an altogether different ball game. You need different skills to bowl in 50-over matches.
"The length that gets you a wicket in T20s won't get you a wicket in one-dayers. We have a lot of experience of playing ODIs and we will bring that all into account," he concluded.
Image: MS Dhoni