The only thing that mat­ters to Kohli is the re­sult

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

WHILE the Proteas chose to keep quiet and not com­ment on the na­ture of the wick­ets as the los­ing side, In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli and his team have con­tin­u­ally faced ques­tions about the skewed sur­faces pre­pared dur­ing the Test se­ries.

“It doesn’t really mat­ter,” Kohli snapped, in the af­ter­math of his side’s 124run win, which en­sured his first Test se­ries win as skip­per.

“Peo­ple can talk about it, peo­ple can choose not to talk about it. Fact is that we have won the se­ries and we have won two Test matches. That is not go­ing to change, how­ever many ar­ti­cles are writ­ten about the pitch, how­ever many are writ­ten about our bat­ting, or un­due ad­van­tage for our spin­ners. It doesn’t mat­ter.”

The man­ner in which Kohli said it, though, sug­gested that it was a sticky point, that his first Test se­ries win will for­ever have an as­ter­isk, with a foot­note de­scrib­ing the pages upon pages that have been ded­i­cated to de­rid­ing the pitch.

Never in a mod­ern Test se­ries – even in In­dia – has the pitch been such an un­re­lent­ing fo­cal point. And it is no co­in­ci­dence that Kohli and his star spin­ner Ravichan­dran Ash­win – the most reg­u­lar visi­tors to the press con­fer­ences – have ve­he­mently de­nied an un­fair ad­van­tage.

“It is the con­di­tions that you get in In­dia, oth­er­wise you will just play Test matches which will get you 500 runs in an in­nings. You don’t cre­ate bowlers like that, you don’t win Test matches like that,” Kohli coun­tered.

“The key is to win Test matches. I have said this be­fore, wher­ever you go to play in the world, you got to be pre­pared to face those con­di­tions and tune your game ac­cord­ingly. To­day was a clas­sic ex­am­ple of two guys ap­ply­ing them­selves and show­ing that it can be done,” he said of Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis’ vigil.

The point that was made, even while Amla and Du Plessis were bat­ting, was that they were merely ex­ist­ing and hardly threat­en­ing In­dia. To score runs and to stick around are two dif­fer­ent things, and those fun­da­men­tals could not be gar­nered si­mul­ta­ne­ously at the Vi­darbha Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

“I don’t feel that way. We have never com­plained when we had chal­leng­ing con­di­tions, and won’t com­plain in the fu­ture ei­ther,” Kohli con­tin­ued, fum­ing that his first no­table suc­cess had been tainted by the furore over dust­bowls.

“At the end of the day, re­sults mat­ter and that’s why we play this game – to win games. That’s ex­actly what has hap­pened. We’ve won the se­ries, we’ve sealed it here and we are very happy about that.”

The man­ner in which Kohli and Amla ended their press con­fer­ences was re­veal­ing, both to their char­ac­ter as well as to their team ethos.

Kohli left bristling, and with an air of “to hell with the haters” about him. They’ve won, by hook or by crook, and no one can take it away. Amla, mean­while, spoke of his side’s de­sire to be men of hon­our, in de­feat or in de­light. Al­though they left Nag­pur de­feated, their han­dling of that demise, their dig­ni­fied si­lence amidst the screams of jus­ti­fi­ca­tion from In­dia, spoke vol­umes.

The se­ries may be over as a con­test, but what goes around does tend to come around in world cricket. Kohli and his men, win­ners on the pitch but spoil­ers off it, would do well to re­mem­ber that.

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