‘Jadhav is brilliant find for us’
‘Hardik is coming into his own as all-rounder as well’
The rise of Kedar Jadhav and good showing by Hardik Pandya in the series against England was a great ‘demo’ for the Indian team ahead of Champions Trophy, gushed captain Virat Kohli.
Jadhav could not steer the side to win in the third ODI on Sunday but was adjudged the man-of-the-series for his 232 runs in the series. Along with Pandya he raised a 104-run partnership for the sixth wicket but India fell short by 5 runs chasing 322.
"Definitely, it has been a series of positives even today, 173 for 5, two youngsters step up almost get us through the line, fighting back against good quality fast bowlers. It was a great demo for the Champions Trophy," Kohli said.
The young Indian captain said it was a good omen for India that youngsters were taking responsibility to finish the game while playing down the order.
"Jadhav is 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," Kohli said.
"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."
Asked to point out which area India need to focus ahead of Champions Trophy in UK in June, Kohli said the fast bowlers need to learn hitting the right line and length.
"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."
Jadhav, who scored 90 runs, said he planned to play all six balls of the last over, in which India needed 16 runs.
"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.
Asked about his cool and calm demeanour under pressure, the Maharashtra batsman credited Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his transformation.
"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."
Jadhav said he and Pandya planned to play till the end.
"First game when I was in the middle, with Virat, this is the time where you can learn how to finish games and that is what I told Hardik as well. If we play to our potential through the end, we would win. I was more happy if we would have won this game but I am satisfied with what I have done in this series. I can still improve."
England captain Eoin Morgan was a relieved, finally having a win under his belt.
"It's been hard work in a very competitive series. Today we were rewarded for our persistent drive to win. The pitch was similar to an English wicket and when you lose the toss, you have to do it the hard way and the dew was very tough to deal with. Jason Roy and Sam Billings did well at the top of the order for us. The bowlers make the captain look good," Morgan said.
"India outplayed us in the first two games but this win was important. You can try hard but without wins it damages the team's confidence."