Dubai: The Indian cricket fans may be hurting at the 3-0 whitewash at the hands of New Zealand in the one-day series, but then, they shouldn’t be. For skipper Virat Kohli feels that one-day cricket in this calendar year is not as ‘relevant’ as T20Is and Tests.
This has been easily one of the most thoughtless comments from the Indian captain ever since he took charge in all the formats - and created a buzz in the social media. As someone who is hugely respected as one of the most fierce competitors of the game - a ‘bull’ in the words of head coach Ravi Shastri during an interview with Gulf News sometime back for his ability to take the workload - such a comment could not have been more ill-timed as it came soon after going down with an unassailable 2-0 margin in the series.
While some may argue that Kohli’s comment was driven by the cold cricketing logic that T20Is assume a greater significance since it’s the year of World T20, as well as Tests as they are a part of the ongoing cycle of World Test Championship - isn’t it an admission better reserved for the team strategy behind closed doors? It’s the prerogative of any team or individual in sport to approach a particular match or series with varying degrees of intensity, but to term the contest as irrelevant smacks of plain arrogance - not to speak of lack of respect for the opposition.
On the eve of the ODI series, Kohli was quite blunt about his expectations: “The one-day games this year are all about seeing what players, who get opportunities, add to the team combination, not necessarily about whether the chances of winning or losing vary or not. That’s what we are looking at”. He then chose to stay on the same page after losing the series.
It’s unfair to expect a team to win everything under the sun, but are we then to assume that the team had approached the series with a somewhat negative mindset, or were they simply outplayed by a superior New Zealand team - who can be quite a handful in this format in the smaller grounds and own conditions?
One found the Indian skipper much more rational after the whitewash though when he said that his team didn’t deserve to win and they need to change their mindset as they approach the two-Test series in a few days’ time.
May be, the Indian board president Sourav Ganguly can have a quiet word with his captain on the art of diplomacy?