On the eve of the second Test against England at Lord’s, India skipper Virat Kohli urged the followers of his team to not be judgemental about the horrific batting showing after just one Test. Kohli feels the problem is more about “mental adjustments” rather than technical.
Kohli was the lone warrior for India in the first Test at Edgbaston. He aggregated 200 runs across both innings but couldn’t save his side from suffering an agonizing 31-run defeat. India were bowled out for 274 and 162 in their first and second innings, with rest of the 10 players contributing only 236 runs.
“We should not judge so fast, and jump to conclusions As a team, we keep patience. We don’t judge so fast. We don’t see any pattern to (the failures). As far as wickets falling in heap is concerned, it is not about technique, it is more of a mental aspect,” Kohli quoted at the pre-match press conference on Wednesday (August 8).
“There must be a clear plan on how to face the first 20-30 balls, and more often than not that plan does not involve aggression. There we need some composure rather than aggression. As a batting unit, we have discussed that,” he added.
Although India’s batting line-up failed to live up to the expectations, bowlers came to the party once again. Continuing where they left off in South Africa, Indian bowlers claimed 20 English wickets, with Ashwin picking up seven wickets in the match and Ishant taking five-wicket haul in the second innings. If India are to bounce back in the five-Test series, the batsmen will certainly have to lift up their game.
“From outside, it looks very bad, especially as it is Test cricket and we are playing in England, where it is anyway difficult. But we only need to bring down the margin of error and beyond that we don’t need to worry too much,” the Indian captain remarked.
Kohli’s captaincy was scrutinized in the opening Test as England lower-order took the score to 180 despite being 87-7 at one stage. However, Virat feels he is doing his best as a skipper.
“I am doing as much as I can as the captain and there is constant feedback from the management. People have their own ways of looking at the game and their own ideas when it comes to captaincy and so on, but I feel I have had really good communication with all the players,” he asserted.
Kohli hinted that a second specialist spinner in either Ravindra Jadeja or Kuldeep Yadav could make it to the playing XI as the Lord’s wicket appears dry.
“(It) could be a tempting thought. Just walking here the pitch looked very hard and the surface looked very dry. It has been very hot in London for the last couple of months. There is good grass cover on it and that is required basically to keep the wicket together, otherwise it is going to be very difficult to hold it together. It is a tempting thought to field two spinners but we have to take a call on that depending on the team balance. But two spinners are definitely in contention,” he explained.
Virat finished the match as the leading run-scorer from either side. While the Indian captain registered his maiden Test ton (149) on English soil in the first innings, he scored a flawless 51 in the second innings. Consequently, Kohli jumped past Steve Smith to clinch the no. 1 spot in ICC’s Test rankings for batsmen.
When asked if it hurt more that India lost after his lion-hearted effort, Virat said: “It doesn’t only hurt when you score runs and you don’t win but it also hurts when you are not scoring runs as well and the team is not doing well. It is not like I feel bad that I got runs and we couldn’t get across the line. It is purely because we haven’t won the games. If I hadn’t got the runs and we had won, I would have got a totally different feeling. It is a very natural aspect of playing team sport.”
The numero uno Test batsman also made it clear that every time it won’t be possible for him to score and other batters will have to take the responsibility.
“I am trying my level best to do that whenever possible. It is not going to happen every time but when it does I want to try and contribute as much as possible. It is unfortunate we haven’t been able to cross the line after coming so close, and that is the only thing we are looking to how we cross the line. I don’t see any pattern in this,” Kohli stated.
“It doesn’t matter whether I get the runs or Jinks (Ajinkya Rahane) does or (Murali) Vijay does or KL (Rahul) does or whoever does. As long as we cross the line, that is the only thing that matters,” he concluded.
(With PTI inputs)