When the Captain of your cricket team is a delightful mix of philosophical and evolved on the one side and basic and unabashed on the other side, as a cricket lover you do feel a sense of calm. The recently concluded two-match Test series with New Zealand was quite forgettable for the current number one ranked Test side there’s no doubt about that, but it’s not all gloom.
It was heartening to note that the young team were not going to wallow in the loss and instead accept what went wrong and move ahead. That is the most effective way of facing the volume of matches being played and the immense expectation that rides on the shoulder of the Indian Team.
Having seen the Captain evolve from a brash, typically aggressive Delhi lad in 2008, to the mature and clear-thinking young man in 2020, it is gratifying to have him lead the team in ventures both abroad and at home. To hear him speak in victory and defeat is eternally satisfying.
The camaraderie is palpable when the team takes to the field. There is a genuine feeling of happiness when the other scores big, and there is banter when silly mistakes are made on the field. Dismissals are met with sheer glee, and yes the Captain does at times give vent to the inner boy that is still alive within him.
When asked about his reaction to his rival captain Kane Williamson’s dismissal as being over the top, Kohli replied quite naturally with a veneer of irritation, that he had no answers for half baked questions. This one reply became the most talked-about instance of the press conference, and honestly, as a lover of the game, the question was rather blah.
The main thing that came out in what was said at the end of the Test Series Press conference was acceptance. They were not going to be a team that would gloss over their mistakes. Instead, they would be addressed, and with every real match situation, those problem areas would be dealt with in mind.
The constant criticism is that the Indians play well only at home. And to that, the Captain said that they were optimistic about the challenges that lie ahead and were looking forward to resolving issues on the field and not just talk about them.
When asked if New Zealand were the so-called ‘bogey’ team for India, Kohli was quick to say that just because they played better cricket on one day in the Semi-Final of the World Cup, and superior cricket for the two-Test series, that did not mean that they were unbeatable. He added that there was no shame in being beaten at the International arena, by a side that was playing better cricket on the day.
In conclusion, Kohli said that there was no denying that as a team, they quite obviously were far from having played their best. There was total acceptance about this fact, and no player was in denial of that fact. But now is the time to pick up the pieces and look ahead.
There’s no use dwelling on what went wrong; instead positive plans had to be made to rectify mistakes in the real world. And the other crucial message that he sent out was that no one in the team took his place for granted.
All of them have a responsibility, and they know they have to execute the same. This is the culture in the team that no one is indispensable. But at the same time, everyone will be given a fair chance out there in the middle to instil a sense of confidence.
It is human nature to criticise a team when they suffer significant losses on the international front, but one must realise that this is not a ‘Virat’(big) problem. Mainly because as a team, they have understood what needs to be done, and external factors will not bother them.
Here’s to Virat and his Veers and team India, forever evolving!