This was our worst batting performance and we need to accept that: Virat Kohli | cricket | Hindustan Times
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This was our worst batting performance and we need to accept that: Virat Kohli

India captain Virat Kohli slams batsmen, asks them to pull up their socks for the rest of the series after losing the first Test to Australia by 333 runs.

cricket Updated: Feb 26, 2017 07:03 IST
Virat Kohli,India national cricket team,Steve O'Keefe
Virat Kohli blamed India’s batsmen for conceding a huge first-innings lead before capitulating in the second innings of the Pune Test against Australia. (AP)

India skipper Virat Kohli blamed the Indian batting line-up for the crushing defeat against Australia in the first Test, dubbing it as their worst performance. Australia’s stunning 333-run victory inside three days was almost entirely due to India’s inept batting in both innings, dismissed for 105 and 107. (LIVE BLOG)

The Indian batsmen’s capitulation against left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe was particularly shocking. Kohli was blunt in his assessment on Saturday after the batsmen failed to put up a fight even in the second innings.

EXCERPTS

Do you think the spinners did as bad as the batsmen?

Not really. I think the way we batted in the first innings, we put ourselves under a lot of pressure . Conceding a 160-run lead (155-run) on that kind of wicket is criminal actually. If we were close enough to their first innings total, the bowlers’ mindset would have been different in the second innings. The moment you give away 50-60 runs (on the lead), the game is drifting away already. It’s very difficult to pull things back from there, even a single run hurts from there on. And I would say our batsmen put us in that position where it was very difficult for us to come back into the game. Am not blaming the bowlers at all, they tried their level best.

READ | India vs Australia: Steve O’Keefe’s magic spells doom for Virat Kohli & Co.

Someone like Umesh (Yadav) bowling well in the first innings was great to see on a slowish wicket. They bowled in good areas, they put Australia under pressure, they were going well in the first innings and we pulled things back nicely. A few things we can take away from this game but from bowling aspect. Our batting wasn’t up to standard and that’s certainly how we shouldn’t bat from here onwards. This is all I can say. I think the batting let us down.

Is the dressing room shocked with the batsmen’s struggles against a left-arm spinner?

It’s fine. I just another international game, it’s no big deal. It’s how you should stay calm and composed when you win, you shouldn’t get overexcited. The same way you react when you lose, something that you take on the chin. We take failures and losses as an opportunity to learn. And the last time we had a performance like this (in Galle), we had the most outstanding run after that. I would say that we needed something like this for us to get a reality check and understand what are the things we need to work on and keep persisting with it, not take anything for granted at any stage, specially at the Test match level.

The batting let us down in the both the innings. I would say it was sustained pressure from the Australians but that also depends upon how badly we batted in the first innings is the main reason why couldn’t get back into the game. The second innings was us a case of us showing some intent and trying to get some runs. But when you have got a target so massive on the sort of wicket, as a bowler you can afford to get hit for 10 fours and still come back and get one wicket and you are back in the game. So, I think the mindset changes drastically when you don’t have a good first-innings performance, specially in India and it was very difficult to come back from that. Yeah, the batsmen need to pull their socks up.

How different was this pitch?

I don’t think it was any different from the turners that we played in the past. We just didn’t play good cricket. You can ask me any sort of question or any perception about the loss. We know exactly what happened, the mistakes that we made. External perceptions don’t matter to us, they have never mattered to us. We played good cricket that’s why we won, we played bad cricket and that’s we lost. That’s how simply we look at this defeat. We just want to take the learnings forward, improve and come back stronger in the next game. I can assure you that we are going to come back with more intent for sure and put Australia under pressure straight from ball one.

How do you want to compare the spinners?

I think our spinners bowled really well as well. I wouldn’t say what they did better. As I said, if you don’t apply yourself, any bowling attack can look dangerous. It’s as simple as that. Even a part-timer can get four wickets if you don’t apply yourself. And I certainly would like to think that was the case with our batting line-up in this game.

It rarely happens that four-five batsmen make errors in judgement in both the innings, specially with the way we batted in the last few months. I would say this was our worst batting performance and we need to accept that. And now come back stronger in Bangalore. There’s still lot of cricket to go in the series and we are certainly sure of showing same intent what we have done in the past.

Were there any sort of feelers sent about how the wicket should be?

I don’t know. I didn’t speak to anyone.

Did we need an extra batsman?

I don’t think so. We wanted to pick up twenty wickets, we did manage to do that. I mean, not in time. I would say we did make breakthroughs but we could’ve done it quicker and if you don’t grab your chances in the second innings, if you drop five chances of one batsman then you certainly don’t deserve to win. If you get bowled out within 11 runs and lose seven wickets, you don’t deserve to win a Test match. As I said, you can speak about combinations... I’m sure you wouldn’t have asked this question had we won the game. The question changes drastically when you win or lose. Our mind-set doesn’t change with the results.

What about your dismissal?

It was a judgement error from my side. I left the ball too early, I should have waited for the ball a little more. You can’t say which ball is going to turn or which isn’t. You’ve got to play the line and I certainly didn’t do that. It was my fault.

Which is tougher, playing on pacer-friendly wicket, or a spin friendly wicket?

I think our bowlers were spinning the ball too much, so we didn’t get the edge. I can’t understand how I can judge that, because the ball that spun less took wickets, and the ones that did didn’t get any wickets. Cricket is like that, so what can we do.

See, spin-friendly wicket or seam-friendly wicket, the only thing that matters is as a batsman how you apply yourself and what your shot selection is. Even on flat wickets you can be dismissed if your application isn’t right. I would say our application in this game was very bad. It wasn’t like one or two guys were involved in a long partnership. We couldn’t build any partnerships, I think that was out worst point.

That’s one area which we worked on in the past few months with pride and executed it as well. I wouldn’t think too much about this Test. If after 18 or 19 Tests, we play one bad game, you have to accept that it’s a part of international cricket. I don’t know if people were thinking that we couldn’t lose at all, but in our mind there was no such thing. If we don’t play good cricket, then any team can beat us.

First Published: Feb 25, 2017 20:20 IST