Indian skipper Virat Kohli has heaped praise on young players like Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav for adding depth and providing explosiveness to team's lower-order batting. Contrary to expectations, Kohli did not experiment much in the five-match ODI series against ninth-ranked West Indies, but he defended his decision after India wrapped up the rubber 3-1 at Sabina Park, Jamaica.
"You can't take any series lightly. You can't make a Hardik or Kedar bat at No. 3 and 4 and make your top-order batsman bat lower down. It's still international cricket and you have to be respectful towards oppositions and whatever games that you play and it's very important to understand what works for you as a team and you've got to keep sticking to it," Kohli said after the eight-wicket win in the fifth and final one-dayer.
"We keep giving them confidence and both guys are very eager to make dents, which they have in the past, and we're very confident of their abilities and we're actually delighted to have found two lower order batsmen who can play that explosive cricket."
After two low scores, Kohli was determined to make it count on Thursday, and he was satisfied that he could. Kohli celebrated his 18th hundred in a chase, surpassing Sachin Tendulkar's record, with a resounding roar that was heard across Sabina Park.
"I don't like to get out in a similar fashion more often. The reason you succeed at international cricket is that you have to stretch the gap between your mistakes and I think a couple of mistakes from me, getting out, in the same manner, is something that I don't really like," he said at the post-match press conference.
The batting mainstay added, "So it was more of being a little strict on myself and getting the team across the line, which I knew the victory was inevitable when I got the hundred and it was all about the satisfaction of actually planning the innings out and executing it well and that always feels nice and something that I like to be hard on myself, not getting out in the same manner too many times."
The key to Kohli returning to his usual scoring ways was quiet contemplation."I think the planning starts from your room. You need to sit down and think positively about the shots you want to play. If there's a bit of hesitation, then you take the route of leaving the ball on one particular shot.
"But if you get into a clear mindset back again and give yourself targets - after reaching 30 or 40, I'm going to start pulling the ball or I'm going to start taking on the short ball and targets become easier. You have a clearer picture as to when to take on that particular shot."
Having a clear mindset is of paramount importance, he said.
"For that, you need to build your mindset first, when you're sitting all by yourself. If you don't have a clear mind then about a particular shot, then you'll find it difficult executing it in the game no matter how many times you practice it.
"You first need to have a positive intent, then you practice and then you can execute it in the game That's what I feel and that's the sort of pattern that I follow."
Though he called it a complete knock, Kohli rated the hundred before this one - a 122 against England while chasing 351 in January this year - ahead.
"For a batsman, you can't have an ideal scenario, when you have a chanceless knock as well, you haven't given any half- chances either. From that point of view, I felt it was a complete knock from a personal point of view and for the team as well.
"But it's difficult to rate centuries. I would say the last one (against England) was still more special because the total was more massive and we were 63 for 4. In hindsight, when you look at those things, you understand the importance of those knocks. Maybe the 49 in Bangladesh against Pakistan (in the Asia Cup T20 2016) was the best I've played in the last couple of years.
"It was only 49, it wasn't even 50, so I think the quality of the knock, you can think of it only later when you play in different conditions when you understand how difficult the previous conditions were."
(With PTI Inputs)