Kohli Highlights The Importance Of Damage Control
Virat Kohli highlighted in his post-series debrief that the hosts had been the better team, but that the scoreline of 1-4 did not really reflect how evenly matched the two teams had been. Except for a selection blunder-enforced loss at Lord’s, India had their moments in each of the other Tests, leading the Indian skipper to conclude that his team had failed to ‘capitalize’ on key occasions after putting the opposition under pressure.
Even as recently as the inaugural World Test Championship final, where a batting collapse on the final day denied them of at least forcing a draw, those brief lapses, or the tendency to go entirely off the boil in one session, were prevalent. Kohli admitted that was an area of the game where his team needed to improve.
“It is all about understanding when things are not going your way, how to control the damage and that is what Test cricket is all about and you have to go through the situations and eventually capitalize when things turn your way,” Kohli said
“Because you are not gonna have all the sessions going your way. So when the situation doesn’t favor you as a team… that is one area we need to improve and in Test matches, we have done that well, we have ended up winning. We know exactly what to do. Now it is all about execution in those difficult moments.”
Both been Valuable, in the Words of Kohli
“We are definitely much better prepared than we have in the past,” Kohli said. “The situation has allowed us to get acclimatized and get used to the weather first. Because it can change drastically quite quickly here. At the same time playing under different changes in conditions — in terms of the weather, whether it is overcast or sunny, how the pitch behaves, how the ball travels, how much it swings in the air — all those things are going to add to our experience with what the team already has.
“Compared to the last tour we have more experience. Our younger players are back here for a second time. Those things we couldn’t execute last time as a team, I’m confident this time, even if some fail, which will happen, we will have someone in every situation who can handle the situation, someone or the other will say ‘I can lift the team from this situation’. So this belief has grown since the last tour.
“So yeah, you can have all the experience in the world, but it boils down to execution in crunch moments and that comes only from belief and how badly you want to be in situations which are not easy. As long as you are trying to embrace that, we will find answers to all the questions that are thrown at us,” Kohli added.
Kohli chose to keep his cards close to his chest, in contrast to their recent habit of declaring playing XIs on the eve of the Test. In light of Hardik Pandya’s absence from the series, there was an endorsement of Shardul Thakur’s all-around ability when challenged.
“He is already a multi-dimensional cricketer and it is all about gaining more and more confidence with performances like [in] Brisbane,” Kohli said
. “Someone like him always brings a lot of balance to the Test team or any other aspect of the game. Hardik has done that in the past for us and he is on track to get back to bowling regularly. But these kinds of players always help the team in a massive, massive way. Shardul is a huge prospect for us and one who is going to be very important for us not just in this series but going forward.”