Series lost 1-4, but team still best in 'last 15 years'

Not surprisingly, despite India's 1-4 thrashing in the five-Test series against England, captain Virat Kohli has backed up the controversial claim made by head coach Ravi Shastri.

By Our Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 13.09.18
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Virat Kohli 

Calcutta: Not surprisingly, despite India's 1-4 thrashing in the five-Test series against England, captain Virat Kohli has backed up the controversial claim made by head coach Ravi Shastri.

In the post-match media conference at The Oval on Tuesday, after India's 118-run defeat in the final Test, Kohli was asked by a journalist whether a tag such as this being India's "best-ever" team in the last 15-20 years - which Shastri had claimed ahead of the final Test - increases pressure on his side and whether he, too, believes this team is indeed the best ever.

Kohli replied: "We have to believe we are the best, why not?" The journalist again asked: "But do you think this is the best Indian team in the last 15 years?"

Then Kohli, looking quite annoyed, hit back at the journalist, asking him: "What do you think?" The latter replied: "I'm not sure..."

Kohli then said: "That's your opinion. Thank you very much."

That he didn't like the question at all was palpable in the way Kohli reacted, as he was more intent on proving that his team played with the "right attitude" and "didn't throw in the towel."

As he did in Tuesday's post-match presentation, Kohli highlighted the fightback by KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant on the final day that had to an extent put England under some pressure. That, according to Kohli, underlined the character of his team.

And he even served a reminder about "a lot of teams" that surrendered in the past from such hopeless situations, something the current side didn't. "A lot of teams in the past basically have given up from the position we were in (in the second innings of the final Test), but we did not.

"This kind of series shows you exactly the kind of character of these individuals, and I see that as an opportunity and not adversity because if you keep winning all the time, a lot of faults are swept under the carpet. You don't realise the faults you need to work on and I certainly haven't played my cricket like that," he emphasised.

"Our aim is to win series, not just win one odd Test match and be happy about it. We are definitely not happy about the way the series has gone, but we played with the right attitude and the will to win every game.

"What matters to me is the kind of attitude with which you play cricket. We said at the end of the fourth Test that we won't throw in the towel and we didn't," he said.

However, not being able to capitalise on crucial moments and failing to do so repeatedly has crippled India's chances, something Kohli did admit.

"We are not starting behind all the time and we have fought back in this series... We do not look at this series as something that makes us think we can't play in overseas conditions.

"But can we capitalise on the important moments better than the opposition? At the moment, no... We haven't done that" he said.

Asked about problems his batsmen have been facing in overseas conditions, Kohli answered: "We need to start a series well. We can't warm up into a series because the first Test is always crucial and we need to make sure we are in the right frame of mind to be able to do all the things right in order to strike first.

"The next series we play, we'll try to play positive from the beginning so that we don't play catch-up right from the start. In difficult conditions, if you are on the back foot right from the start, it's very difficult to recover then."