India skipper Virat Kohli was totally gutted after his team’s 135-run loss in the second Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park, Centurion. With this humiliating defeat, the numero uno Test side also conceded an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series to the Proteas. Moreover, it is Kohli’s first Test series loss since taking over as full-time captain of India from MS Dhoni.
Despite getting a subcontinent-like pitch at SuperSport Park in Centurion, Indian batsmen couldn’t able to adjust their game as the visitors got bundled out for 307 and 151 in their two innings respectively. However, Kohli feels that they have fielded the best possible combination to achieve the result.
“What’s the best XI? If we had won this, was this the best XI?,” Kohli retorted when asked if they had selected the best playing XI for Centurion Test.
“I’m saying that we don’t decide XI according to the results. The loss obviously hurts. But you make one decision and you back it. We certainly don’t sit here and say, ‘oh if you fail in one game you are not good enough to be at this level or...’. Didn’t we lose in India? We had the best XI there.
“Whoever plays should be good enough to go out there and do the job for the team. That’s why we’ve got such a big squad. Because we believe in their abilities and they are good enough to be at this level but you need to do that collectively as a team. You can’t pinpoint and say this is the best XI. We played with teams before that have looked really strong and have lost as well. So, I certainly don’t bend towards that opinion at all,” the Indian captain further added.
Kohli though admitted that the batters should have applied themselves on a pitch that was more suitable for the visitors than the home team.
“Teams have beaten us also at home at times but these conditions are something that we are used to playing at and we should have certainly done better than what have. Having said that it’s about which team plays collectively better and as I mentioned quite a few times already that South Africa collectively were a much better team than us regardless of pitches we played on. Their bowlers put relentless pressure on us as a batting unit, and their batsmen as well, after losing a few wickets, they would string in a partnership. They showed more character than us,” he stated.
Talking about India’s failure to conquer the alien overseas conditions, Virat stressed on the inability to play together as a unit.
“Look, everyone wants to perform everywhere. I don’t know whether people think about those things too early or because when we came here last time we batted well. This time around we haven’t batted well as a unit. We bowled well, we didn’t bowl as well last time but this time we have bowled better. But what’s annoying is that it hasn’t come together at one time which obviously South Africa has done and that’s how you win Test matches. That’s the most hurtful thing that both skills are not coming together at the right time, including fielding. They were far superior than us in the field. All three things have come together well in tough situations to be able to win Test matches and series which we have failed,” Kohli asserted.
Team India entered into the series having won their last 9 Test series. Virat Kohli’s troops not only had the chance of becoming the first ever team to secure 10 Test series wins on the trot but also had an opportunity to silence their critics, who constantly questioned their ability to perform in overseas conditions. Nonetheless, Kohli still believes they are a top side.
“Look we have to believe we are the best side. If we don’t believe that there is no point in coming here. We have not come here to participate,” said Virat.
“We are not complaining about Cape Town. The game was finished in three days, one was a washout. Look. We are not complaining about pitches, we are not complaining about conditions. We had equal opportunities to win in both games and that’s the positive we can take out of this. I’m not sitting here comforting my guys. I don’t know what you are listening to but I’m asking everyone to be hard on themselves,” he concluded.