Virat Kohli, the Indian cricket team’s cocky skipper, showed a rare side to his personality after the crushing defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the two-match Test series which ended prematurely on March 2.
New Zealand completed the whitewash with a seven-wicket win over India on Day 3 of the second Test at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch. The Black Caps dismissed the tourists for 124 in the first hour of the day, before chasing down their 132-run target with half of the Test to spare.
Last week, New Zealand's fast bowling trump cards -- Trent Boult and Tim Southee -- were the wreckers in chief in the first Test at Basin Reserve in Wellington. New Zealand sealed a 10-wicket victory -- the side’s 100th Test win -- on the morning of the fourth day, leaving the Indian players with a lot of questions to figure.
Kohli was his imperious and arrogant best while dealing with that loss, but the Indian skipper looked deflated, biting the humility pill, while answering the press post loss in the second Test.
By virtue of the whitewash, New Zealand jumped to third spot in the World Test Championship standings with 180 points. India were still on top with 360 points, 64 points ahead of Australia.
Kohli, who struggled through the series, huffing and puffing to get to double digits in the four innings and ending with a total of 38 runs, did snap at a reporter at the start of the press conference. He was miffed when asked about his on field behaviour and aggression towards Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson and the New Zealand fans.
Excerpts from Kohli's press interaction:
[I am] obviously quite disappointed with how we played in this series. As you rightly said, every challenge that comes our way, we take it head on. That's something we have done in the past. I feel like we were completely outplayed in the series. We obviously did not play the kind of cricket that we do play as a team. So it was a combination of both and the thing to take away from here is not to shy away from the things that went wrong, instead address them straight up and not be in denial. Accept that there were mistakes and correct them going forward because we do have a lot of cricket away from home coming in this season.
We would like to be in similar situations and correct them rather than just talking about them. So yeah it is obviously very disappointing to lose the series in this manner and something that as a team we all realise and are definitely accepting it straight up.
Kiwis Not Bogey Team
We got beaten by a better team at the World Cup and we got beaten by a better side in the Test Series as well. So, there is no shame in being outplayed. You know, at the international level, you need to accept your mistakes and move forward. All this bogey team and all we don’t believe in because our record against them is pretty good in the past. So, you can’t just make a team a bogey team just because of one Test series and a semifinal loss.
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We definitely have not thought like that and there are definitely not looked at like that from our point of view as that team. They just played much better cricket on that day and in this Test series as well. Like I said, there is no shame in accepting that way. We are not trying to create some controversy here by tagging a team or naming them a bogey team or something.
Won't Forget What Happened
Well, acceptance is the first word, like I said, these kinds of many phases and these kind of times as a team or as an individual also, you learn to process them better. Doesn't mean that they stop coming or things stop happening. You understand what you can learn from them and put your head down and just work hard. The only communication that has happened or needs to happen is that ‘dont forget what happened’. Learn from it and don’t dwell into it too much so it’s a delicate balance.
You can’t ignore it plus you can’t dwell on it everyday. You can’t keep thinking about the same thing otherwise you won’t be able to move forward but also if you are in denial then you will probably not correct those mistakes either. So, I think it is about recognising what went wrong and having the capacity and acceptance as I said, to correct those things and to work on the mistakes.
As a side, we are all willing to do so because there are no easy wins. There are no givens at the international level. You have to earn every win and this time we were not as good enough as a side and like I said we have accepted that before anyone else and we are not ashamed in admitting that we were not good enough and we have not played our best cricket, we are not even close to it.
Being Busy is Good
The advantage of playing a lot of cricket which, the schedule is such, that if you are working on something, you have many games to try and execute it, you know straight up. It’s that way you look at it.
We Were Not Positive Enough
If you’re taking pressure then all kinds of things can feel wrong whether it is personal skill or playing as a team. But when you are optimistic about the things you want to do, like score runs, than rather than thinking about survival or thinking of conditions too much and bat accordingly. Similarly if you are worried about what might happen in the session whether it will go our way or not. Then invariably it does not.
So, I think the outlook as far as I am concerned as far as I saw things happening, wasn’t ideal for us in this series. We were not positive enough, we were not brave enough in moments which we have done in the past. In crunch moments we have just gone for it. Even though we have lost, we were competing so I think those are things that we need to be ironed out moving forward.
Takeaway for the Future
For bowling we have identified a few guys, we do have some people who can eventually come up, [Navdeep] Saini is one already who has come up to the system and we do have two three more we have an eye out for. We need to be very careful and need to understand that is one factor that has gotten us a lot of success and we need to make sure that those standards are kept high.
We understand and recognise the guys who can do a similar job potentially as well as these people have done, Umesh [Yadav] included. I think they bowled pretty well, especially in the Test. In the first innings also, our comeback was really good. In the second innings I think we kept hitting the right areas. So, as far as execution is concerned we were much better in this Test match compared to the first one. Yes but from a larger point of view, we do need to recognise who are the next three four guys that keep the standard up. This is definitely something we had a lot of discussion about and we are on the right track in terms about having those people as back ups.
Place in Side Not Guaranteed for Anyone
First, Jinx [Ajinkya Rahane] is one of those players who has been solid for us in Test cricket and I don’t look at averages and numbers. It is about impact performances, you know whether he has been able to make enough impact performances for the team and the answer for me is ‘Yes’. Whenever we have required an impact performance from him, more often than not, he has delivered in that regard and you also have to figure out how many guys in your team do an average of 44-42 in Test cricket. If you have a solid middle order you need to make sure that those guys are playing together enough. If few things here and there, you don’t execute properly doesn’t make you a bad player. So, Jinx for us has been pretty solid as far as I’ve seen it.
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With someone like Rishabh [Pant], we have given him a lot of chances in the home season as well starting from Australia and then you know he was not playing for a bit. In turn, he worked really hard on his game and himself. So you need to figure out you know when is the right time to give someone else a chance. If you push people out too early, they can lose confidence but I don’t see anyone taking their place for granted in this team.
That's the culture we have set, people are supposed to take responsibility for the work they do and work hard towards it. Whether it happens or not is a different thing, you know, you can then have a conversation with the players but no one has come here thinking I’m gonna play every game or I’m indispensable. That culture we have not created. The time he did not play, he worked hard behind the scenes, so we thought this is the right time because of his game and because of the way he plays. He can make a difference lower down the order but unfortunately, this did not happen. That was our planning behind it and we are gonna stick to what we planned before. We cannot fluctuate much definitely thought he is gonna come good in these two games and collectively as a bating unit, we did not perform well, so to single out people, I don’t believe in that. We take the hit together as a group, whether it is a batting group or as a team, we try to correct those things moving forward.
Question from Journalist:
Virat, what's your reaction to your behaviour in the field yesterday, swearing at (Kane) Williamson when he got out, swearing at the crowd? As an Indian captain, don't you think you need to set a better example on the field?
What do you think? You need to find out exactly what happened and then come with a better question. You can't come here with half questions and half details of what happened. And also, if you want to create controversy, this is not the right place to be. I had spoken to the match referee and he had no issues with what happened.
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