Tough lessons in defeat will harden India’s team: Kohli
London, UK - India captain Virat Kohli has admitted that until and unless his team starts "capitalising" on important moments in matches where it has created pressure, and sustain it, it will not win Test series overseas.
And the only way to create pressure, Kohli emphasised, was by starting a series well and not "warming up", as India did after losing the winning advantage at Edgbaston on the fifth morning of the first Test, which it lost by 31 runs.
"We need to start series well, 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," Kohli said in the wake of his team's 4-1 series defeat at The Oval on Tuesday.
India, the No 1-ranked Test team, had arrived with many pundits predicting its best showing in England in a decade, and with Kohli himself saying that his squad had the right balance compared to the previous touring teams lead by M S Dhoni, in 2011 and 2014, when India lost the series by 4-0 and 3-1 margins.
Yet, India managed to win one Test this time too, the third in Nottingham, where a collective effort across all three departments enabled it to stay in the series after consecutive losses at Edgbaston and Lord's.
Kohli said India did not sustain that kind of effort and pressure, and that is how England snatched the control of the series quickly.
"We do not look at this series as something that makes us think we can't play in overseas conditions. Of course, we can play, but can we capitalise on the important moments better than the opposition? At the moment, no, we haven't done that. But in the future we want to do that, and, that is the only way we win series, and our aim is to win series, not to win the odd Test match and be happy about it."
According to Kohli the only reason he was feeling not "hard-done by", despite a one-sided scoreline, was because of the attitude with which his team played throughout the five Tests.
"We are definitely not happy about the way the series has gone, but the way we played our cricket is something that, not me, no-one in the change room, no-one doubts even one per cent, because we played with the right attitude and the will to win every game that we played."
As an example he pointed out the final day's play of the series at The Oval where India were staring at a mammoth target of 464.
But Lokesh Rahul and Rishabh Pant, two of the highest scorers in the last IPL, played aggressively on a slow and flat pitch to create a contest after a wicketless second session. Both Rahul and Pant would end up making centuries.
More than the runs, Kohli said, it was the boldness and the situational awareness that gave him hope for future series.
"Not hard [done-by] at all because what matters to me is the kind of attitude you play cricket with," he said.
"We said at the end of the fourth game that we won't throw in the towel and we didn't,” said Kohli.