IND vs NZ | Cautious approach away from home never pays off, attests Virat Kohli
Indian skipper Virat Kohli launched a scathing attack on his batsmen for their defensive approach in the first Test and attested that a negative mindset away from home never pays off. India, led by Pujara, employed defensive tactics in the second innings, but the move eventually backfired.
With the pitch flattened out on Day 3 and having just seen New Zealand reap rich rewards for their counter-attacking approach, team India, led by the 81-ball 11 by Cheteshwar Pujara, much to everyone’s curiosity, ‘parked the bus’ in the second innings, looking to survive rather than score. Barring Mayank Agarwal, every other batsman in the Top 6 sported a strike rate south of 60 - with Pujara’s 13.58 being the lowest - and this, in turn, allowed the New Zealand bowlers to dictate play and pull the strings. Eventually, the visitors were bundled out for just 191 and the hosts coasted to a convincing ten-wicket win on the morning of Day 4.
The defensive approach from the Indian batsmen has now come under heavy criticism from skipper Virat Kohli, who stated that a cautious approach away from home never pays off. Kohli feels that batsmen most project a positive mindset heading into their innings and admitted that he was not a big fan of the ‘shunning out’ approach.
"I think the language we use as a batting unit, that has to be correct. I don't think being cautious or wary will help because you might stop playing your shots. You will start doubting that if even singles are not coming in those conditions, what will you do? You are just waiting for when that good ball will come and you will be dismissed,” Kohli said post the side’s 10-wicket loss in Wellington, reported News18.
"(If) you have that acceptance that it's ok if you are out to a good ball, at least I don't think that way. If I see a situation, if it is a green wicket, then I try to play counter-attacking cricket so that I can take the team forward. If you don't succeed, then you have to accept that your thinking was correct, you tried but if it didn't come off, fair enough. There is no harm in accepting that. But I don't think a cautious approach ever pays off, especially away from home," the skipper was clear in his thought process.”
India were bowled out under 200 in both the innings, with Agarwal being the only batsman to pass fifty in either innings and this, in turn, brought to the limelight the technical frailties of the batsmen who are accustomed to cosier, flat wickets back home. But Kohli feels that it is easy to overthink about the conditions and emphasized on the importance of being in a good headspace whilst walking out to bat. The Indian skipper was further confident of his team bouncing back in the second Test in Christchurch.
"If we start thinking too much about the conditions, then you won't be able to focus on your batting. When you are not playing in your (home) conditions, the game becomes more mental. We can sometimes get into too many technical discussions. But if your mind is clear, then any condition looks easy,” the 31-year-od said.
"Then it doesn't seem as if a lot is happening with the ball or that the bowling attack is tough. We will follow the same positive frame of mind we have been in. We were not able to execute in this game but when we do so, we know what we can achieve.”