IND Vs ENG | We Didn’t Put Much Application As A Batting Unit; Focus Is Always On Long Partnerships, States Virat Kohli

FILE - In this March 1, 2020, file photo, India's Virat Kohli runs a single while batting during play on day two of the second cricket test between New Zealand and India at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand. India’s cricket tour to Australia is closer to being formalized with selectors picking squads for a four-test series and the one-day and Twenty20 limited-overs formats. (AP Photo/Mark Baker, File)

After another loss in the first match of a Test series, Virat Kohli has stated that India didn’t put much application as a batting unit in the first innings. He also raised the question about the state of the SG ball while adding that there was no real debate over the management not picking Kuldeep.

On the back of a stressful series against Australia, where they won 2-1, India were put under the pressure on day one, in unfavourable conditions for bowlers. Right from the very first over of the day, the Indian team were put under the pump by the visitors, aided by Joe Root’s double century, which blew them apart. While India were expected to put a similar show with the bat in their first innings, they conceded a huge 241-run lead.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli showed his displeasure over the application shown by the batting unit in the first innings. He added that the plan was to bat long in the first innings, chasing England’s total. However, at the same time, he reinstated milestones is something that they don’t really think about but instead focused on building long partnerships.

“I think the Test probably shifted in their (England)’s favour when we batted in the first innings because we were looking to bat long and we couldn’t do that. There wasn’t much application shown by us as a batting unit, something that we take a lot of pride in. Look these milestones (100s) and all we don’t think about too much. We just look at building partnerships and put the team in good positions,” Kohli told pressers in the post-match press conference.

“Someone has scored a century in the last five matches doesn’t matter to us but if people do put partnerships that help us win, that’s what matters. For us, it about trying to win a game of cricket and if we need to do play solid cricket, we should be able to do it. There’s no one way about it. As a batting unit, our focus would be on long partnerships.” he added.

Kohli also reinstated that the state of the pitch didn’t help India on the first two days, with the deck being flat and slow. However, he stated that England’s first innings was the major differentiator between the two teams.

“Look at the reality was that pitch was flat and slow. I’m not telling it as an excuse but that was the reality on the first two days of the game. It was only after third day when the pitch started to change. Before that, it was a very flat and slow pitch. Look, they got big runs on board in the first innings. We have to understand that’s the dynamics of the sport.”

While Ashwin earlier raised complains over the quality of the SG ball, Kohli also expressed his surprise over the destruction of the ball completely on the first day of the five-day encounter.

“The quality of the ball (SG) as well wasn’t something that we were pleased to see, that has been an issue in the past as well. The ball was destroyed in 60 overs, it’s not something that you are ready to experience as a Test side. England played better cricket than us.”

The 32-year-old also stressed that the choice of picking Shahbaz Nadeem over Kuldeep Yadav is for variety, something that he revealed that they would lack in Kuldeep’s inclusion.

“Not really (Kuldeep for Shahbaz) when we are playing two off-spinners, we needed variety, hence the decision to pick Shahbaz Nadeem. There was never a second doubt on the decision to pick Nadeem over Kuldeep. Going forward, we will think about what best we can do and then work on the team combination,” he concluded.