Dubai: Indian skipper Virat Kohli hates to fail as a batsman and as a captain. When New Zealand inflicted a 10-wicket defeat in the first Test match at Wellington, he could not accept the defeat without getting ruffled during the post-match press conference.
“We know we haven’t played well but if people want to make a big deal out of it, make a mountain out of it, we can’t help it as we don’t think like that. For some people, it (one Test match defeat) might be the end of the world but it’s not. For us, it’s a game of cricket that we lost and we move on and keep our heads high.”
Ten-wicket defeats for India in New Zealand isn’t new though. It had happened in 1989-90 in Christchurch and also in Wellington in 2002-03 tour.
Kohli then reminded that a defeat in a Test match is not a shame. However, India had got whitewashed 3-0 in the One Day International (ODI) series to New Zealand that preceded the Test match and it should be a matter of concern. Also, one cannot brush aside the fact that in both the innings in this Test match, India could not cross the 200-run mark.
Kohli feels that they need not be ashamed of the show. “We have to understand that we were not at our best in the game and there is no shame and harm in accepting that. Only when we accept this, we will come out in the next game with a much better mindset and much better competitiveness that we have shown as a team. That is the representation of the Test team.”
In this Test match, opener Prithvi Shaw’s technique got exposed. Cheteshwar Pujara struggled in both innings and Kohli himself is not at his usual self.
Kohli then blamed it on the toss and said that losing it did not do them any good. “The toss did turn out to be very important. But at the same time, we take a lot of pride in being competitive as a batting unit and we were just not competitive enough.”
Kohli even said that his batsmen allowed New Zealand bowlers to bowl well for long periods. “It was perfect for them (New Zealand) because they bowled well and we allowed them to bowl well for longer periods.”
Kohli backed his bowlers and said they know what needs to be done soon. “As a bowling group, we have been pretty competitive in bowling good channels for long periods of time … Overall, we did put in a good effort but can still be more disciplined. It doesn’t need to be pointed to them as the bowlers have recognised themselves. That can happen at the international level,” he said. The Indian captain, however, should be aware that the last three wickets for New Zealand added 123 runs — something which made the difference. Kohli believes that if in the first innings India had posted around 240, then his bowlers would have bowled better.
India will now have to do a lot introspection before the next Test starts on February 29 at Christchurch — while Kohli has to keep his cool under mounting pressure.
India 1st innings: 165
New Zealand 1st innings: 348
India 2nd innings (Overnight 144-4)
P. Shaw c Latham b Boult 14
M. Agarwal c Watling b Southee 58
C. Pujara b Boult 11
V. Kohli c Watling b Boult 19
A. Rahane c Watling b Boult 29
H. Vihari b Southee 15
R. Pant c Boult b Southee 25
R. Ashwin lbw Soutee 4
I. Sharma lbw de Grandhomme 12
M. Shami not out 2
J. Bumrah c sub (Mitchell) b Southee 0
Extras (w2) 2
Total (all out, 81 overs) 191
Fall of wickets: 1-27 (Shaw), 2-78 (Pujara), 3-96 (Agarwal), 4-113 (Kohli), 5-148 (Rahane), 6-148 (Vihari), 7-162 (Ashwin), 8-189 (Sharma), 9-191 (Pant), 10-191 (Bumrah)
Bowling: Southee 21-6-61-5, Boult 22-8-39-4, de Grandhomme 16-5-28-1, Jamieson 19-7-45-0 (2w), Patel 3-0-18-0
New Zealand 2nd innings
T. Latham not out 7
T. Blundell not out 2
Total (0 wickets, 1.4 overs) 9
Bowling: Sharma 1-0-8-0, Bumrah 0.4-0-1-0
Result: New Zealand won by 10 wickets