Cuttack: Relishing at the prospect of leading the side in the the first three ODIs against Sri Lanka, India's stand-in skipper Virat Kohli today said the hastily-planned series would be an exciting one, especially with World Cup spots up for grabs. (Sri Lanka and India Aim for Top Spot)
Terming the series very exciting, Kohli said the Indian team will witness a lot of changes in the coming months to find out the perfect combination before next year's World Cup. (Is Rohit Sharma's World Cup 2015 spot in jeopardy?)
"There can be a lot of changes, a lot of twists and turns in the playing eleven. Going ahead everyone wants to do well knowing that the World Cup is not that far away. So that's an opportunity for all these guys to step in and make a strong impact and make a strong case for themselves," Kohli told reporters on the eve of the series opener at the Barabati Stadium here. (Varun Aaron should have replaced Mohammed Shami, says Sourav Ganguly)
"I'm sure everyone would be geared up considering the fact that World Cup spots are up for grabs. 3 to 4 of these guys would be part of that squad. This is a very exciting series knowing that there are not many games left before the World Cup.
"Everyone would like to get into the groove, especially as a team. We can test our combination and need to be very sure of what we want to do in the field and not try to experiment at that particular time," he said. (Match practice better than net practice, legends tell Angelo Mathews & Team)
Drawing parallel with the 2003 scenario when Sourav Ganguly-led India made the World Cup final before going down to Australia, Kohli said: "Even we had a similar debate before 2003 but they made the final and it was one of our best performances. I hope we also do something exciting like that. If we have to perform, the planning should start from now.
"We have to set our combinations right which will depend on our campaign in the World Cup. Obviously the squad will be selected from these bunch of players," he added.
Regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been given rest for the first three ODIs of the five-match series against the Lankans planned hastily after the West Indies pulled out over a pay dispute with their Board (WICB) but Kohli said there is no question of any lack in intensity from his team.
"I always like being captain of the side. It gives me an opportunity to test myself to different aspects of the game. It's something that I enjoy especially having a young side with not so much of experience is always an exciting thing.
"There's lot you can achieve, there's lot you can find out, experiment in the field with. Having that sort of excitement and energy on the field is always a pleasing thing for a captain. I'm pretty glad to have a group of boys who can go out there and perform," he said.
Apart from Dhoni, India's two frontline seamers in the ODI format for quite some time now -- Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami -- will also miss out and Kohli said the young lads would be raring to go to impress the selectors ahead of the tour to Australia.
"Those three have been regular members of the playing eleven for the last couple of years, especially Bhuvi and Shami. Obviously MS (Dhoni) has been leading the side for quite a long time. Their experience is always valuable to us. But at the same time it would be an opportunity for guys like (Wriddhiman) Saha, Varun Aaron to cement their places," he said.
Asked about the hastily-planned series, Kohli said the absence of Tests would have only affected their mental preparation but it would be equally important to go Down Under riding high on confidence after winning a series.
"We had to play two more ODIs against the West Indies. So logically we're playing three more than we are supposed to. But that was a situation which surprised everyone. But everyone present are focussed on this series for now," he said.
"The only thing the Test series would have helped us mentally to have a bit more patience. Having similar condition is not possible in India. But all the preparation for the World Cup would start the moment we step on Australia.
"We can really work on things we want to do. We would like to at least take confidence going forward into Australia. If we end up winning, it would really have a good effect on the team and create a good environment in the changing room as well," Kohli said.
Kohli further said he's a student of cricket and loves to discuss things with regular skipper Dhoni.
"I try to keep learning as much as I can. In a series like this I can at least use them. Like batting styles people have different captaincy styles as well. Obviously the thinking behind or planning is something I've really tried to learn for him. It's always nice to speak to him about a particular situation and get an explanation back," he said.