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India vs New Zealand: We were completely outplayed in the series: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli

Christchurch, February 2: Indian captain Virat Kohli said on Monday (February 2) his team was completely outplayed in the Test series and will have to find a way to correct the mistakes.

India lost the Test series 0-2 after their defeats Wellington and Christchurch by 10 wickets and 7 wickets respectively.

Excerpts from his post-match press do where he delved into several issues.

How disappointed are you with defeats like 10 wickets in first Test and 7 wickets in second?

Obviously, quite disappointed with how we played in this series. We take every challenge that comes our way, we try to take it head on. That's something we've done in the past. I feel like we were completely outplayed in this series. We obviously didn't play the kind of cricket we do as a team. It was a combination of both. The thing to take away from here is to not shy away from things that have gone wrong. Instead, address them straight up, and not be in denial. Accept there were mistakes, and correct them going forward.

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Because we do have a lot of cricket away from home coming this season as well. It's something we're optimistic about, and looking forward to. Things that haven't gone right here, we would like to be in similar situations and correct them, rather than just talking about them. Yeah, it's obviously disappointing to lose the series in this manner. Something as a team we all realise, and we're accepting it straight up.

How're you going to process this defeat now?

Acceptance is the first word. These kind of mini phases -- as a team or as an individual, you learn to process them better. It doesn't mean that they stop coming or stop happening. You understand what you can learn from them, and put your head down and work hard. The only communication that has happened, and that needs to happen, is don't forget what has happened, learn from it, and don't delve into it too much. So, it is a delicate balance. You can't ignore it, plus you can't delve on it every day.

India vs New Zealand, 2nd Test: Black Caps comfortably seal series win

You can't just keep thinking about the same thing otherwise you can't move forward. But also if you're in denial, then you'll probably not correct those mistakes either. So, it's about recognising what went wrong, and having the capacity and acceptance to correct those things and to work on those mistakes, which as a side we are all willing to do. There're no easy wins.

There're no givens at the international level. You've to earn every win. And this time we were just not good enough as a side. We've accepted that before anyone else, and we don't have any shame in admitting we weren't good enough; we didn't play our best cricket, not even close to it.

How would you like to phase your workload management and the occasional break from the game?

There're two ways to look at it. I would much rather be in the middle and try to correct those things rather than having too much time in between and waiting for a game to arrive so that you can figure out whether you've corrected it or not. The advantage of playing a lot of cricket is that if you're working on something, you've many games to try and execute it straight up. It's the way you look at it.

As I said it needs to be balanced. You can't overthink it, you can't be in denial also. Works differently for different people. If you're taking pressure, then all kinds of things can feel wrong whether it's personal skill or playing as a team, but when you're just optimistic about what you want to do... say you walk out to score runs rather than thinking of survival or thinking of conditions too much, then you'll bat accordingly.

Similarly as a team if you're worried about what might happen in a session, whether it'll go our way or not, then invariably it doesn't. So I think the outlook as far as I'm concerned, and as far as I saw things happening, wasn't ideal for us in this series. We weren't positive enough, we weren't brave enough in moments, which we've done in the past. In the crunch moments, we've just gone for it.

Even though we've lost, still we're competing. Those are things for me that need to be ironed out. Skills follow your mindset, simple as that. You can bat as well as you want, but as long as you don't think right, then you aren't going to be able to do what you want to do. More about ironing those things out mentally and going ahead positively and taking challenges head on.

Have you thought about the team's depth in bowling attack, considering the scenario of one of the frontline bowler's unavailability?

This is something we have been talking about. We have identified a few guys. We do have people who can potentially come up the ranks. (Navdeep) Saini is one who has come into the system. We've two-three more that we've an eye on. We need to be very careful and we need to understand that this is one factor that has got us a lot of success and we need to make sure that standards are kept high. We recognise and understand guys who can do a similar job potentially as well as these, Umesh (Yadav) included. I think they bowled pretty well. In the first innings our comeback was pretty good.

Even in the second, we kept hitting the right areas. As far as execution is concerned, I think we were much much better in this Test compared to the first game. From the larger picture poijnt of view, we do need tor recognise who are the next three-four guys that can keep the standard up because you don't want to feel a void suddenly if a couple of guys miss out. That's what happens in cricket. Mini transitions happen every now and then, and you need to be aware of them. You can't squeeze the life out of individuals, and when they are done, you've no back-up. I think we as a side are pretty aware that these things are quite possible.

These guys aren't getting any younger either, so we need to be very careful and very aware and accept that these are situations that can potentially come up and have guys who can replace them and ready up and running as soon as possible. This is something we've had a lot of discussions around and we're on the right track with regards to having those conversation.

How do you view these two Test matches in which batsmen Rahane and Pujara were getting stuck?

Jinks (Rahane) is one of those players who has been very solid for us in Test cricket. I don't look at averages and numbers and those things too much. It is about impact performances. Has he been able to make enough impact performances for the team? The answer for me is yes. Whenever we've required an important performance from him, more often than not he has delivered.

Also have to figure out how many guys in your team do average more than 42-43-44, so if you've a solid middle order, you need to make sure those guys are playing together enough. Few games here and there, if you don't execute those things properly, it doesn't mean you become bad players. So Jinks for us, we aren't even thinking about those kind of things. He has been sold for us. He has put his hand up on many occasions when the team has been in trouble so there are no issues there.

Someone like Rishabh (Pant), we've given him a lot of chances in the home season as well, starting from Australia. Then he wasn't playing for a bit. In turn, he worked really hard on his game and on himself. So you need to fugure out when is the right time to give someone else a chance. If you push people out too early, they can lose confidence, but I don't see anyone taking their place for granted in this team. That's the culture that has been set in this team.

People are told to take their responsibility and work hard towards it. Whether it happens or not is a different thing. Then you can have conversations with a player. No one here has come thinking I'm going to play every game or I'm indispensable. That culture we haven't created. Everyone is working hard on a daily basis. The time that he didn't play, he worked really hard behind the scenes. So, we thought this is the right time. Because of his game and the way he plays, he can make a difference lower down the order. Unfortunately, it didn't happen, but that was our planning behind it. We're goung to stick to what we planned and then go ahead with it.

We can't really fluctuate too much when it comes to what we planned. We definitely thought he was going to come good in these two games. Collectively as a batting unit we didn't perform. To single out indiviuduals, I don't believe in that. We take the hit together as a group, whether as a batting group or as a team. And we try to correct those things and move forward.

What were the mistakes you need to rectify?

Having clarity, as batsmen. We've performed in difficult conditions in the past as well, and we understand that we were in a good frame of mind when we were playing in those conditions at that period. I think it's about trying to get into that space more often than not. And for that you need to think positively on every day of the Test match, every situation, every session that you're a part of. Something we failed to do as a batting unit, and I truly believe that we made too much of the conditions from the first day onwards, of the first Test: overcast, a bit of dampness on the pitch - we never spoke of these things before. So yeah, it can creep in every now and then, it's about not letting it grow, not letting it become a norm, something that we as a side haven't done at all; we don't go into conditions and think that we might not be able to execute what we want to.

We've always gone in with a very positive outlook and, as I said, your skill follows, how you think. If you're not clear in your head then the feet don't move, you're not quite sure whether to play the shot or not, leave the ball or play the ball. I think these sorts of things can creep in, and which have creeped in in this series. It's something we've recognised already. The good thing is that everyone's understood what's happened and is very keen to improve it. It's all mental. I don't see any problem with anyone's game as such. It's mental, and it's something that can happen at this level and we just need to accept it and iron it out and move ahead.

Is the team becoming overdependant on you?

It's not like that at all. If you take the Australia series, (Cheteshwar) Pujara made the biggest contribution there. It was the first time we won a series there. If you take things in isolation, you will find lots of things to use as excuses, that this didn't happen or something didn't happen because of that. When you play collectively, your aim is to put 300-350 on the board. Whether five people score 50-60 each or one person makes 150, like Pujara did in Australia, our aim to have a big score on the board. If that doesn't happen collectively, you must think about that rather than thinking what individuals have done. No one thinks like that.

You play as a team and you want to do well as a team. I've never thought like that and my attempt is always that... in cricket, you live every moment as a batsman, so my attempt is always to do as well as I can, and that's how everyone thinks. It's not like someone turns to another person and says, 'Oh, my responsibility is not as much'. In a team, you've to take responsibility collectively rather than single out individuals."

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Story first published: Monday, March 2, 2020, 12:02 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 2, 2020
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