The fifth test in Oval ended with England winning it by 118 runs. KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant put up a brilliant show on the last day of the test match frustrating the English bowlers for quite some time. Both added a 204 runs partnership to India’s total and played a brilliant knock of 149 and 114 respectively. But their resistance could not save India from the humiliation of losing the test series 1-4 to England. KL Rahul was dismissed with a brilliant delivery by Adil Rashid, turning the bowl about a country mile outside leg. Soon Pant also followed his partner on a googly by Adil Rashid which was caught in the deep by Moeen Ali.
With 1-4 series loss for India, which was the third consecutive in England following the 2011 and 2014 series losses, Indian captain Virat Kohli looked on a defensive line trying to justify the team’s performance. He repeatedly emphasised on the fact that the team did some right things but were unable to thrust pressure on the home side for a long time.
On being asked whether he had a word with some individual players regarding their performance throughout the series, Kohli answered, “We’ve had conversations around specific situations we were in and why they went away from us. A lot of time it’s been on missed opportunities. It’s literally one part of a session that we’ve given away and the whole Test match starts running away because the opposition senses it and they are more relentless about being on top. We have definitely spoken to individuals understand what they were thinking in certain situations. But of what happened on the field, why it took place and what was the thought process behind it, so that we can go totally into the root of the issue and try and correct it form there rather than just telling guys this was the cause and then you need to correct yourself. We have spoken to guys individually, yes.”
During the press conference, he was also asked a sharp question by a journalist, “The Best Indian team in the last 15 years’. Do these tags put pressure on you? Do you actually believe you are?” Kohli stared at the questioner and started off calmly, “We have to believe we are the best side. Why not?” The questioner threw in the second punch.“The best team in 15 years?” Kohli now seemed agitated but controlled it to throw in a counter-question: “What do you think” The reply was: “I am not sure.” And Kohli ended the terse chat with, “That’s your opinion. Thank you.”
The press conference clearly indicated that the Indian skipper is not happy with the team’s performance. But what good have they derived from this test series? What were the areas where they need to put more work? What is the best combination for this young Indian side who wants to ”take responsibility” as Kohli says? These are some serious questions in front of the team management which only time and their performance is going to answer.