The Chahar brothers -- Rahul and Deepak -- came in for high praise from India skipper Virat Kohli, who described the duo’s bowling effort as outstanding and impressive in the seven-wicket triumph in the third and final T20 International against the West Indies.
Seamer Deepak bowled a magnificent opening spell and ended with figures of 3 for 4 from three overs, which was crucial in restricting the West Indies to 146 for 6, while Rahul, playing his first game, chipped in with an effort of one for 27. India won the match to complete a 3-0 whitewash.
“We wanted to try a couple of guys. We gave both the Chahar brothers a go in this game. It was Rahul’s first game and Deepak’s comeback. Playing for the first time, I think he (Rahul) was outstanding with the new ball,” Kohli said in the post-match press conference.
“Pitch didn’t have much, there was a bit cloud cover but the kind of swing he (Deepak) got early and got those three wickets really set West Indies back and they could not get to a big total,” he added.
Kohli also lauded Bhuvneshwar Kumar, describing him as a “skillful bowler” but said it was Deepak’s performance that impressed him a lot.
“I think it was his (Bhuvneshwar’s) execution that pushed them back. Bhuvi has always been professional, a very skillful bowler.”
“But I was definitely impressed with Deepak and how he bowled even with Rahul how he came back in the third over and got a wicket. I think it was a really good day for us as a fielding team, as a bowling unit and Deepak started it all for us,” said the 30-year-old.
Chasing a target of 147 on a slow deck, Kohli anchored the innings to perfection with 59 off 45 balls while young Rishabh Pant was brilliant during his unbeaten 65 off 42 balls. India achieved the target in 19.1 overs.
On his own innings, Kohli said: “I don’t think I need to prove myself with the bat or anything like that. I just want to do my job for the team. I don’t play for my own performance.”
“It is just about getting the team across the line whether I score 20, 30, 40, 50, or whatever. I have been playing like that for 11 years so nothing new for me and no pressure at all.”
Pant, who was widely criticised for his shot selection in the first two games, came good in the third T20 International, stitching a 106-run partnership with Kohli.
Kohli said he would be looking forward to seeing more such performances from the wicketkeeper-batsman in the coming matches.
“For the first two games, he was really disappointed as he didn’t get any runs. Sometimes you don’t have the rub of the green but today he made sure that he applied himself and backed his skills, hit the big shots when required.”
“He played with the tempo of the innings, the tempo of what was required. I am really looking forward to seeing more performances from him like this. He has got the tremendous talent we all know. It is all about getting into his zone and doing this more often for the team,” the skipper stated.
India had exited the recent ODI World Cup after losing in the semi-final to New Zealand and Kohli said the next one in 2023 is too far right now to think about and instead his team’s aim is to be one of the most consistent sides in the world.
“It’s too far to think about 2023 right now. For us, the priority always has been to be one of the most consistent sides in the world. I think in the last 3-4 years we have been able to achieve that.”
“We are the number two side in the world and there is a good reason for that. We have been going to number one as well,” he said.
“You really start planning for the World Cup and looking forward to it 12 months to go and not four years away. The priority is to keep Indian cricket at the top.”
India will next play three ODIs, commencing on August 8 at the Providence stadium.