Tue, Sep 26, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Kohli urges India to be ‘ruthless’

NOT STRETCHED:India’s victory over Australia saw them go top of the one-day standings, but Bishan Singh Bedi believes they have yet to be truly tested


India’s Rohit Sharma plays a shot against Australia in the third one-day international in Indore, India, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Captain Virat Kohli has called on his players to be “ruthless” after the crushing one-day international series win over Australia that took India top of the world one-day rankings to add to their No. 1 Test status.

A five-wicket win in the third game of the five-match series on Sunday gave India an unassailable 3-0 lead over Steve Smith’s Australia. It also stretched India’s winning streak to a record 12 matches across all formats.

Kohli’s side have been on a roll for the past year since regaining the No. 1 Test spot with a 3-0 home whitewash of New Zealand.

The in-form captain has led from the front with 1,137 runs in 21 one-day matches this year, ahead of South Africa’s Faf du Plessis as the highest one-day scorer this year.

Kohli praised his team after the latest win against once mighty Australia, who have been outplayed in India. Smith’s team also lost a Test series 2-1 in India this year.

“Credit to the whole squad for the series win, but the journey stops only after the final game,” Kohli said. “We may give opportunities for people from now, but all 15 guys know that we’ve got to be ruthless once we step onto the field.”

The series has seen new India stars emerge, with all-rounder Hardik Pandya and left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav making an instant impact.

While Pandya’s crucial 78 led the team’s run chase in Indore, Yadav impressed with his maiden hat-trick in the second international.

However, legendary spinner Bishan Singh Bedi believes India have not been tested by opposition teams, barring the ICC Champions Trophy final in June against Pakistan which they lost by 180 runs.

India won 10 of their 13 Tests on home soil in this season and then went on to rout hosts Sri Lanka over nine games in all three formats of the game.

“Realistically speaking, Indians are not even fielding their best XI and beating the opposition hands down, whether it is Sri Lanka or Australia,” Bedi said.

“We are loving the ratings, but if we are a little more pragmatic then you will realize that the Indian team in the last year or so haven’t been stretched by the opposition,” he said.

“Just that one game in the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan, other than that we have not seen them in a tight situation. We will get to know the character of the team when they come out of a tight situation,” Bedi added.

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