On the eve of India's first T20 match against Australia, Virat Kohli has warned the Indian cricketers from picking up "bad habits" during the IPL keeping the upcoming ICC World Cup in mind.
Australia is currently on tour in the Indian subcontinent where they will play a two-match T20I series and a five-match ODI series. This will be India's last international assignment ahead of the World Cup before the players break for the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League. The IPL, being a T20 format, has different demands when compared to the 50-over format and Kohli has asked the probables for the World Cup squad to be careful of losing focus on the World Cup.
"All the people who are going to be part of the World Cup squad, they have to make sure that their games don't go too much away from the one-day mould of things. That means we will have to be very wary of the bad habits that might creep in during the IPL. We need 15 people who are confident and mentally happy about where their game is at that particular moment," Kohli said at the pre-match press conference on February 23.
Kohli spoke about prioritising the World Cup ahead of the IPL and said that he does not want his batsmen to try different things in the nets which might cause them to lose momentum. He further said that once batting form is lost, it is difficult to regain the same flow.
"That will take a consistent effort from all the players during the IPL to keep a check on that. The moment we enter the nets and create bad habits, and you lose momentum, you lose batting form, it's very difficult to get it back in a tournament like the World Cup. So from that point of view, everyone will have to protect that mindset and be aligned towards what the team requires of them," Kohli added.
KL Rahul is a glaring example of Kohli's anxiety. The 26-year-old was in extravagant form in last edition of the IPL where he scored 659 runs from 14 matches for the Kings XI Punjab. But Rahul was hardly able to translate his T20 form into ODI or Test match success. Although he scored a T20 century against England right after the IPL, he averaged only 24.83 in 11 Test matches. In the three ODIs he played since IPL 2018, he scored 69 runs.
The 2019 edition of the IPL begins after the Australia series on March 23, while the World Cup in England will start on May 30.