India might have fallen to a 4-1 series defeat at the hands of England but skipper Virat Kohli remains confident that the side can put up a much tougher fight in its next overseas assignment in Australia.
The visitors were dealt a 118-run loss in the final Test against England at the Oval with the hosts finishing the job in the final session of the match.
Despite the margin of defeat, Kohli believes there is plenty for cause for optimism for India when they visit Australia at the end of the year.
“What matters to me is the kind of attitude you play cricket with. We said at the end of the fourth game that we won’t throw in the towel and we didn’t,” the 29-year-old stated.
“This kind of series shows you exactly the kind of character of individuals and I see that as an opportunity and not adversity because if you keep winning all the time a lot of faults are swept under the carpet, you don’t realise the faults you need to work on,” he added.
The 4-1 scoreline does not tell half the story of the series with India throwing away advantageous positions multiple times. Kohli rued his side’s failure to drive home the advantage at crucial cinctures of the series.
“We were not able to hold that pressure for long enough with the bat and the ball as well, so at crucial stages we could not keep that pressure on for long, and that is why they took advantage of those situations better than us,” he said.
“The progress has been there… we need to recognise when the situation is in our favour and how to solidify that situation even further, and make sure that the opposition cannot get back in to the game.
“More often than not, we have given the advantage to the opposition rather than them brilliantly turning around a situation.”
India are slated to play three T20s, four Tests and three ODIs in their tour of Australia which begins at the end of November. After failing to start well in the tours of South Africa and now England, Kohli wants his side to be ready from the very go Down Under.
“We can’t warm up in to a series because the first Test is always crucial, and we need to make sure we are in the right frame of mind to be able to do all the things right to strike first,” the series’ top-scorer with the bat said.
India have lost the Pataudi Trophy 3-1 and now face the prospect of finishing the five-Test series 4-1 after The Oval Test. India lost the series in South Africa 2-1. Kohli’s team have now lost five out of their last seven away Tests and their lack of preparation has been blamed for their woes.
India did not play a single warm-up match in South Africa. In England, they played just one truncated warm-up match before the five-Test series and even took five days off before the first Test.
Compare that to Pakistan’s tour of England this year. Even though they were playing just a two-Test series, Pakistan took part in two warm-up matches, played Ireland’s inaugural Test, and had another warm-up game before the first Test. They drew the series 1-1.
However, instead of admitting that India need to play warm-up matches before Test series, Kohli questioned their importance.
Speaking to Michael Holding on Sony Liv, Kohli said: “Lot of people talk about tour games but where are those tour games happening and against what quality of bowling are very important questions to be asked.
“Because if you don’t get the preparation you need before a Test series, then it is actually not utilised well. Time is not utilised well if you don’t get the quality of opposition that you face in Test cricket.”
For the record, India faced reigning county champions Essex in their tour game which was reduced to a three-day affair on India’s request.
Virat Kohli is not only a world-famous cricketer and athlete but a football enthusiast as well.
The India captain is already one of the greatest batsmen of this generation and his fame has crossed international and sporting boundaries. Kohli is co-owner of Indian Super League side FC Goa and and has regularly spoken about having keen interest in various sports and not just cricket.
It therefore didn’t come as a surprise when Kohli was handed a personalised jersey by Premier League side Southampton last week upon the Indian team’s arrival in the city for the fourth Test of the series against England which India ended up losing.
Kohli was pictured alongside Saints ace Danny Ings on Instagram with a Southampton jersey bearing Kohli’s name and his favourite number 18.
Last week, India batsman KL Rahul, accompanied by fast bowler Umesh Yadav, visited the Emirates Stadium to watch Arsenal take on West Ham.
Rahul not only got to watch the game but also met Danny Welbeck. In one of the posts, Rahul and Umesh were seen showing off their footballing skills.