By A Special Correspondent
First publised on 2020-03-02 22:23:30
After India was blanked out in the second Test against New Zealand, skipper Virat Kolhi said he had no excuses to offer. He even snapped at a journalist for accusing him of swearing at the New Zealand skipper and the crowd. That was very uncharacteristic of Kohli. When India wins and when he is scoring tons of runs, Kohli is at his voluble best. Hence, fans expect him to provide answers about what went wrong when the team loses. Losing after putting in your best does not irk fans. But when the team is capable of better performance, capitulation such as the ones witnessed in four straight innings in New Zealand is not digestible. Fans expected an honest appraisal from the skipper, not an attitude-filled, casual "no excuses" answer.
But Kohli's behavior has gone a sea change lately. It has deteriorated in direct proportion to his failures at the crease. Every batsman, even the greatest (barring Don Bradman, of course) goes through a lean period. Aggression is not the way to come out of it, introspection is. Kolhi is a great batsman. Maybe something is playing on his mind that prevents him from occupying the crease. That is for him to sort out. But displaying attitude is not going to work with the fans. It is necessary that he displays the tenacity that made him the finest batsman in the world and takes losses and batting failures in his stride. A combative nature is positive on the field but it is negative when facing the media or explaining the reasons for a loss.
The team did exceedingly well in the T20s by winning all five matches. Two of the matches went into the super over and India won both. Hopes for more victories were obviously aroused. But the team made a hash of the three one-dayers and then played like novices in the Tests. It is fashionable nowadays to dismiss critics as ones who know nothing about the game. While that may be true to an extent, is it too much to demand, as a fan, explanations for consecutive losses? Winning or losing is a habit. If a team falls in the groove of losing, it gets demoralized and players start doubting their capabilities. Fans do not want this to happen to this team. Kohli must understand this before snapping at reporters or mouthing inanities.