Virat Kohli (L) is congratulated by teammate Suresh Raina after hitting the winning runs against Sri Lanka in their international one day cricket match played in Hobart. AFP/William West
Almost an hour after Virat Kohli’s stunning effort kept India afloat in the CB Series, Rohit Sharma relaxed, riding the Segway trolley — the one that looks like a hopping bicycle for children but is the automated one-wheel trolley used by mobile cameramen at the Bellerive Oval.
Soon, he was joined by bowling coach Eric Simons and teammates MS Dhoni, Irfan Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja.
One hadn't seen them so relaxed over the last four weeks. And those who have been in Australia since the team’s arrival confided this was the most relaxed dressing room. This is what victory does to a team.
But to pull off an unthinkable victory, the Men in Blue had to take their minds off cricket ever since their disheartening loss to Australia in Sydney on Sunday. As HT reported on Tuesday, no player discussed anything remotely connected to cricket until they reached the Bellerive Oval.
“I did nothing (on Monday). I didn't talk to anyone about cricket. I got a call from home and someone discussed cricket and I hung up. I said, ‘please don't talk about cricket, please don't tell me what to do because I'm not even thinking of it’,” Kohli said.
“We were all staying as relaxed as possible because, to be honest, we had nothing to lose. This was one game for us where we had to give it our all; just wanted to enjoy as much as possible. The mood in the dressing room is amazing right now.”
The change in attitude seems to have paid off. With nothing to lose, the top order batsmen cut loose and the Indian team looked a confident unit for the first time in three months.
So why didn't the players express themselves earlier?
“Sometimes, if you are not playing well and are committing the same mistakes, you tend to go into a shell which is really difficult to come out of. But you need to take that extra risk like we did today to come out of the shell, and now I can tell you we have.”
And Kohli, who rated his knock as his best in ODIs, played through pain after he badly bruised his right elbow while diving into the crease.
“Hopefully, if we reach the finals, then you will see a totally different Indian team. We're going to take each game as a do-or-die affair if we reach the finals,” the Delhi batsman said.