'Need people with right mindset': Virat Kohli hints at changes in India Test side after WTC final loss

  • Virat Kohli said the Indian team management might take a cue from the limited-overs sides and create enough backup and bench strength even in Test cricket, consisting of players with the right mindset.
India's captain Virat Kohli, left, attends the presentation ceremony after New Zealand won the World Test Championship final cricket match, at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, England, Wednesday, June 23, 2021.(AP)
India's captain Virat Kohli, left, attends the presentation ceremony after New Zealand won the World Test Championship final cricket match, at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, England, Wednesday, June 23, 2021.(AP)
Published on Jun 24, 2021 01:24 PM IST
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India captain Virat Kohli was not ready to lose sleep over the WTC final loss to New Zealand but he gave indications that there can be changes in the Test side going ahead. The WTC final went into the reserve day with a draw being the most likely result but a collapse in India’s second innings – some of it due to shot selection – gave New Zealand a realistic chance which the Kiwis accepted with both hands and chased down the 139-run target with 8 wickets in the bank to lift the inaugural WTC title.

Kohli, who had no regrets of naming India's WTC XI in advance, said his side can’t fall prey to patterns.

"We will continue to reassess and continue to have conversations around what are the things required to strengthen our side and not follow or fall prey to certain patterns," Kohli said at the post-match virtual press conference.

The Indian captain, who himself has been below-par in the WTC, including the final, said the team management might take a cue from the limited-overs sides and create enough backup and bench strength even in Test cricket, consisting of players with the 'right mindset'.

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"We will not wait for a year or so and have to plan. If you see our white-ball team now, we have great depth and guys are ready and confident. Same thing needs to be done with Test cricket.

"You have to reassess and replan and understand what dynamics work for the team and how we can be fearless. Bring in the right people who have right mindset to perform," the skipper added.

Kohli did not take any names but the skipper’s words are sure to keep senior batsman Cheteshwar Pujara on his toes. Pujara managed 8 off 54 balls in the first innings and consumed 35 balls for his first run. He then scored just 15 runs off 80 balls in the second essay. In the end, New Zealand chased down a 139-run target without much trouble.

Also Read | Kohli calls for best-of-three WTC finals, 'not too bothered by this result'

For the current management, a 50 off 80 balls is of more value than a 15 off 80 which can put unnecessary pressure on batsmen coming after someone with an ultra-defensive mindset.

"I think evolving with the game and improving yourself with the game is very important and when you have been a top side for few years in a row, you don't want to suddenly drop your standards...

"We will certainly take those decisions and have those conversations and in near future," the skipper looked visibly hurt and in a mood to take some tough calls in near future.

He also spoke about finding ways to score runs against quality attacks like that of New Zealand. India scored only 217 in the first innings and were all out for 170 in the second effort.

"We definitely need to work out better plans on understanding how to score runs. We have to stay in sync with the momentum of the game and not let the game drift away too much. I don't think there are any technical difficulties as such," he asserted.

"It's more down to game awareness and being more brave in putting bowlers under pressure and not allowing them to bowl in similar areas for longer periods of time unless it is absolutely overcast and ball swinging all over the place like it happened on day 1."

"You can't be too worried about getting out as your bringing the bowler into the game completely. If as a batting unit, we put 300 on the board, it's a different kind of pressure on opposition with the kind of bowlers we have. Kohli urged his batsmen to take calculated risks and strike a balance between well-timed strokeplay and holding an end.

"The endeavour would be to try and score runs and not worry about getting out in testing conditions. That's the way you can put the opposition under pressure otherwise you are standing there hoping that you don't get out, which you eventually will be because you are not being optimistic enough.

(With PTI inputs)

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021