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IPL has helped us break barriers with England players: Kohli

Last updated on: July 03, 2018 09:24 IST

'Purely because we didn't know the guys enough to be able to have conversations with them. I think this season has broken that barrier to a great extent.'

IMAGE: England captain Eoin Morgan, left, with India captain Virat Kohli hold the series trophy ahead of Tuesday's first T20 International in Manchester. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The participation of English players in the Indian Premier League has only increased the 'warmth' among rival players, but on the field India captain Virat Kohli expects a high intensity battle between the two teams during the long tour, starting with the first T20 International in Manchester on Tuesday.


While Jos Buttler stood out among the England players in the IPL, Kohli said the league helped them break the ice and know their opponents better.

"It (the IPL) is going to make relations between the two teams even better. I think because England haven't played so much IPL cricket there was never that familiarity or that sort of warmth between the two teams as much as we have with the other teams," said Kohli, on eve of the first T20 in the three-match series.

"Purely because we didn't know the guys enough to be able to have conversations with them. I think this season has broken that barrier to a great extent.

"I heard lot of people are keen to go and play and they should. Why not? It's a great league to play in. As Jos (Buttler) has been saying for months now, it has done great things to his mindset and he is taking that on in every format," added the India captain.

Jos Buttler

IMAGE: England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler had a superb season with the bat for Rajasthan Royals in IPL-11. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Kohli is not all surprised with Buttler's recent success.

"I am not surprised the way Jos has played. I mean we have all known about his ability in the past as well. It is just that he has got more opportunity to play for Rajasthan Royals in this season to show his skill set, and he's certainly enjoying that role at the top of the order.

"It was lovely to watch him play because when you gain momentum in this format, and you continue for that long, it always feels good to watch. From that point of view, I really enjoyed watching him bat. Apart from that, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali were in our team (Royal Challengers Bangalore) as well. We had a great time together," said Kohli.

India had it easy against Ireland winning the T20I series 2-0, but England will be a tough side to beat.

Over the last three years, England have resurrected their limited-overs' fortunes and are currently one of the most attacking outfits in limited overs cricket. Kohli said that the experience of playing in different T20 leagues, especially in the IPL, is a contributing factor towards the same and singled out Buttler as an example.

"It doesn't matter, if you are batting first, whether you have 170 or 230 on the board. The opposition has to get in. If you have a target in mind or in front of you, then you play accordingly. We have enough T20 experience to know what to do when,” he said about England's penchant for high scores.

On the personal front, Kohli did not have a great time in England four years ago but he has not set a target for himself.

“Surprisingly or funnily, I don't think from fans' or outside point of view. Even when we came here for the Champions Trophy, that was the first question that was asked and my reply was, I am just looking forward to having a good time here. It doesn't matter whether I get runs or don't get runs.

"What I want is the team to play well and the team to win. Obviously you want to perform as an individual. But I haven't set any benchmarks or targets and come here to do certain things which have to be special just because the last tour here, I came on didn't go well."

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

IMAGE: India fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the nets on Monday. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

A neck injury forced Kohli to pull out of his hyped county stint with Surrey ahead of the England tour but the star batsman feels he has not missed much.

"Looking at the weather, not at all. I mean it is as dry as I have seen it ever. And the point was that we haven't played in those wet and damp conditions ever as a team. Having spoken to the guys who have come here and played, they said it was a great experience for them learning a lot more things about their game.

"I spoke with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma as well who have been here before. They said it is a great setup to be a part of. It is a great time to play cricket there. As a cricketer, you look for new challenges every now and then. That's something that I wanted to go and experience because we don't get to play so much cricket here before we come on tour," he said.

Keeping the 2019 50-overs World Cup in mind, Kohli said India will keep experimenting on the tour.

"With that major tournament coming, it gives you an opportunity to test your bench strength, try out fringe players and test their characters as well.

"We are certainly going to try a lot of cricketers as well in the T20 matches, test their characters, test their skills and work out accordingly who will be the next lot to come in, especially to the limited overs format and from there on, they can build on it and play test cricket as well."

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