AUS v IND 2020-21: "Our worst batting performance but let's not make mountain out of molehill" - Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli came out in defense of his team's batting unit after a heartbreaking loss in Adelaide.

Kohli was at pain over the Indian defeat | GettyVirat Kohli admitted his team's collapse to 36 all out, country's lowest total in Test match history, on Day 3 of the Adelaide D/N pink-ball encounter versus Australia, was the "worst batting performance" under him. 

But the skipper also urged people outside to "not make mountain out of molehill", reading too much into it, as the Indian batting has held its own previously in difficult conditions. 

Read Also: "One of those days where everything came off", Pat Cummins jubilant after 1st Test win 

"I don't think we have ever had a worse batting performance than this. So we can only go upwards from here and you will see guys stepping up and realising their true characters," said Kohli after a bitter eight-wicket defeat in the first Test at the post-match press conference. 

While Josh Hazlewood (5/8) and Pat Cummins (4/21) were largely unplayable in the second innings, Kohli felt India's "intent" with the bat could've been a lot better. 

"It's a strange one to be honest in my opinion," he said. "The ball didn't do much but we didn't have too much intent of going out there and taking the game forward."

"Everything happened so quickly that no one could make any sense of it."

"I don't think it's alarming and we can very well sit here and make a mountain out of a molehill, it's basically looking at things in the right perspective."

Kohli was firm at the defence of his batting unit which, though not plagued by deeply technical issues, has certainly faltered in crucial stages of overseas Tests. 

"You have just spoken about five or six batting collapses in 8 to 9 years if I am not wrong," he responded to a query. "There will definitely be collapses again and again and we have to accept our mistakes and what we need to work on."

"This is not club level cricket and obviously there is a lot of pressure involved at different stages and as batsmen, we take pride in doing our job for the team. We are not vulnerable to getting out cheaply or vulnerable to a collapse."

Kohli said it's important for his team to not let this loss take too much of a mental toll and approach the games coming up with a positive mindset, especially the batting front. 

"Rather than going into the past as to what has happened and let it linger on in future, I don't think that's productive at all. The team definitely doesn't think like that and you learn from your mistakes and move forward," he said. 

"We played enough cricket to understand what needs to be done at different stages in a Test match. It's just lack of executing a plan which is apt for that situation on Day 3."

"We arrived today with 9 wickets in hand. We should have definitely put in a stronger batting performance. I don't think any mental fatigue is involved and I don't think that's a factor."

The captain didn't think Hazlewood and Cummins did anything different in terms of their lines and lengths to the first innings, after which India had a 53-run lead. Just that he and other Indian batsmen handled things better in the earlier half. 

"Look they bowled similar lengths in the first innings also. We were just better in terms of handling it and having a plan around it how to go about it." 

"A bit of a lead can always be tricky and as a batting unit, you can go into a headspace where you feel like you are just 50 or 60 ahead, you don't want to lose early wickets so that the opposition comes at you."

"The way we batted allowed them to look more potent than they actually were in the morning to be honest because they bowled similar lengths. We batted way way better in the first innings," he added. 

Kohli, though, rued the multiple dropped chances from his fieldsmen in the first innings where Australia reached from 111/7 to 191 all out, with their lower-order eating a larger portion of the Indian score of 244 than they were expected to. 

"It was very crucial. I think they were 7 down for 110 when Tim Paine offered a chance. Teams will not offer you opportunities again and again, you have to grab it when they come your way."

"Had we got a lead of 100 or more run and with a decent batting effort the opposition starts panicking, the target would have slowly move forward," added Kohli, who returns home on paternity leave now. 

In his absence, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will be leading the side in the next three Tests. 

(Inputs from PTI)


By Kashish Chadha - 20 Dec, 2020

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