Virat Kohli played down the embarrassing collapse his side endured on Saturday and claimed that teams are bound to encounter such mishaps playing at the highest level. Kohli further insisted that it was India’s callous batting which made the Aussie bowling look more potent than what it actually was.
India entered Day 3 of the Adelaide Test aiming to edge closer to creating history, but within the first hour, they had ended up creating unwanted history. In what was, at least statistically, the worst ever batting performance by an Indian Test side in the country’s history, the Virat Kohli-led tourists got skittled out for 36, their lowest ever score in Test cricket. For the first time in Test history, a team had no batsman getting to double digits, and the 9.30 AM to 10.30 AM phase became the darkest hour in the country’s history.
But despite Saturday marking the sixth straight occasion of India failing to post 250 runs on the board in a Test inning, skipper Kohli played down the collapse that unfolded on Day 3. Kohli asserted that there was no need to ring alarm bells, claimed that collapses are bound to happen in international cricket, and attested that, from here, it is important for his team to put the disaster behind and move forward, rather than lingering over the past.
“Playing at the highest level, there will definitely be batting collapses again and again. We have to accept our mistakes and understand what we have to work on. This is not club level cricket,” Kohli said in the post-match press conference.
“Obviously there is a lot of pressure involved in different stages and as batsmen we take a lot of pride in doing the job for the team. We definitely don’t feel like we are vulnerable to getting bowled out cheaply or we’re vulnerable for a collapse on a regular basis.
“I don’t think it is anything alarming. We can very well sit here and make a mountain out of a molehill. It’s basically looking at things in the right perspective and knowing what we need to do as a team, moving forward, rather than going too much into the past and let it linger on in the future. I don’t think it’s productive at all.”
In the post-match presentation, Kohli rued his side’s lack of intent, and the Indian skipper reinstated the same in the press conference. The 32-year-old, in fact, went as far as saying that the Indian batsmen made the Australian bowling look more potent than what it actually was, and stated that lack of direction in the approach and planning led to the Indians succumbing to the Australian charge.
“They bowled similar lengths in the first innings as well. We were just better at handling it, having a plan around it and how we wanted to go about things. A bit of lead can always be tricky because as a batting unit, you can very well go into a headspace where you feel like you don’t want to lose early wickets (because you’re only 50-60 ahead).
“You always have to be positive and you can’t think like that. Hence I said we lacked intent because we probably should have just seen where the game needs to go, rather than where it’s come to, till now. The way we batted allowed them to look more potent than they probably were, to be very honest. Because they bowled similar lengths in the first innings as well and we batted way, way better. “
Teams generally look up to their captain for inspiration in the immediate aftermath of tragedies, but team India will be without the services of Kohli, who will fly back home for the birth of his first child, in the last three Tests. But despite his absence, the 32-year-old had no doubt that the side, which will be led by Ajinkya Rahane, will show character and bounce back in the Boxing Day Test starting December 26. The Indian skipper, however, labeled the Adelaide abomination as the worst batting performance in the country’s history.
“I would definitely have loved it had we won this game, but having said that, this is Test cricket - anything can happen at any stage. I’m pretty confident that the team is going to bounce back strongly in Melbourne. Few of the guys are going to realize their true character and how they can step up for the team. I’m very very confident that we will definitely learn from this.
“I don’t think we have ever had a worse batting performance. We can only go upwards from here and understand that as a team we can do special things when we think of partnerships. I’m very confident that we will bounce back in the next match. You will see guys stepping up, realizing their true character and doing a job for the team.”