Fielding will improve when we start wanting the ball more: Kohli

Indian captain Virat Kohli

Visakhapatnam, India captain Virat Kohli on Wednesday hailed the batting efforts of openers K.L. Rahul and Rohit Sharma, along with Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer, while stating that the team needs to start enjoying fielding after India beat the West Indies by 107 runs in the second ODI to level the three-match series 1-1 here on Wednesday.

The match saw a few misfields and dropped catches by India, something that has been an issue in the previous match and the T20I series between the two sides before that.

“We need to field better… We can’t afford to drop catches like we have. Fielding is about wanting the ball, as long as we enjoy ourselves, we’ll be right up there on the field as well,” he said in the post-match presentation ceremony.

“Catching has been disappointing. It is not the representation of the kind of standards that we set. It’s very important to maintain standards and live up to them. We are one of the best fielding sides in the world,” he added.

Kohli said that he is happy that the team is able to put up big totals batting first in recent matches. On Wednesday, India posted 387/5 at the end of their innings with Sharma and Rahul slamming centuries in a 227-run opening stand. They were backed by some explosive batting towards the end by Pant and Iyer, who at one point smashed 55 runs off just two overs.

“I think what has been good in the last three games, including the one at Wankhede and the first two ODIs, is that we have batted pretty well in the first half,” he said.

“Batting second has never been an issue. We’re one of the top sides, if not the best, while chasing. It is always good to see the team getting 40-50 runs extra than what you would’ve thought at the start of the innings.

“I think it all boils down to the good foundation. Rohit (Sharma) and KL (Rahul) were outstanding, the opening partnership set it up. Shreyas and Rishabh, the way they played and scored 55 runs in that two overs… It was fantastic hitting. Credit has to go to the openers.

“It’s been very nice to see the way we batted first, especially after losing the toss. It shows we’re not reliant on the toss. We want to bat the opposition out of the game if we bat first,” Kohli said.

Iyer has been performing on a consistent basis at the contentious number four position which plagued India throughout the build-up to the 2019 ICC World Cup.

Kohli said that while it remains a tricky position, he is happy that Iyer is making the most of the chances he is getting.

“It was made more of an issue than it actually was (the No. 4 conundrum before the World Cup). If the No. 4 doesn’t get to bat consistently, it doesn’t help. He’s (Iyer) grabbed his chances and performed well. It’s a very tricky situation to come in and we are just happy that a youngster has come in and is playing freely,” he said.