Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A dejected Virat Kohli.(Getty Images)



A dejected Virat Kohli admitted India’s batting performance on Day 3 of the Adelaide Test against Australia was by far the worst he has been part of it, but urged people not to make a ‘mountain out of a molehill’ as his team suffered a crushing eight-wicket defeat to Australia on Saturday.

On being asked whether the team got complacent heading into the Test series on the back of their T20I series win and the fact that they beat Australia two years ago, Kohli played down the idea of comfort zone, saying terms like it do not have a place in international cricket and that those thinking otherwise need to ‘get a reality check’.

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“There is no comfort zone at the international level. There is no comfort zone in preparation or training. So people who want to relate this to comfort zone should really get a reality check that it’s pressure and not comfort zone. Having played for so long I can definitely tell you straight up,” Kohli said during the virtual press conference.

“I don’t think we have ever had a worse batting performance than this. So we can only go upwards from here and you will see guys stepping up and realising their true characters. “I don’t think it’s alarming and we can very well sit here and make a mountain out of a molehill, it’s basically looking at things in the right perspective.”

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Batting collapses are nothing new in Indian cricket, but under Kohli’s captaincy, the pattern seems to be repeating a little too frequently. When the team toured South Africa in 2018 and later New Zealand in February of 2020, while India’s bowlers stood up and delivered the goods, their batsmen crumbled under pressure.

It takes a turn for the worse especially in SENA nations (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia), and Adelaide 2020 was just another chapter in India’s long history of batting collapses. To it, Kohli made it clear that batting collapses are unavoidable but what matters is that the team picks up the valuable lessons from it.

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“You have just spoken about five or six batting collapses in 8 to 9 years if I am not wrong. There will definitely be collapses again and again and we have to accept our mistakes and what we need to work on,” he said. “This is not club level cricket and obviously there is a lot of pressure involved at different stages and as batsmen, we take pride in doing our job for the team. We are not vulnerable to getting out cheaply or vulnerable to a collapse.”

India’s confidence is sure to be jolted following this embarrassing defeat, and with Kohli set to return home, India without Rohit Sharma until the third Test, and Mohammed Shami remaining a doubtful starter following a blow to his hand, how the team plans on bouncing back remains to be seen, but the outgoing Kohli has expressed confidence in his team to recover from the result and put up an improved show in the remaining three Tests.

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“We’ve played enough cricket to understand what needs to be done at different stages in a Test match and it’s just lack of execution,” Kohli said.

“I would definitely have loved it for a fact if we had won this game. Leaving with victory would have been great but having said that, this is Test cricket and anything can happen at any stage. I’m confident that the team is going to bounce back in Melbourne and few of the guys are going to realise their true character and how they can step up for the team. I am very confident that we will definitely learn from this.”

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