Cricket

This is a special win as we had to work harder: Kohli

Delhi boy Kohli thanked the fans for coming out in huge numbers and supporting the team on all five days.

India captain Virat Kohli on Monday described their 337-run win at Ferozshah Kotla here as the most special of the four-Test series against South Africa, saying his team had to work harder to achieve the result as compared to the previous matches.

India won the four-Test series 3-0, with the second match at Bangalore being washed out. While India won the first and third matches within three days, the last Test in New Delhi went on till the fifth day with South Africa putting up a massive resistance for the major part of the match.

“All the wins were special, but this one is more because we had to work harder. The South African batsmen put their heads down and played for the draw, always hard work. I just asked the bowlers to put their hands up and that’s what happened after tea,” said Kohli at the post-match presentation ceremony.

“We were surprised with how they were defending, their approach. The bowlers did not lose patience. They can be really proud of their effort today. This is what Test cricket is all about ... patience. This really depends on how much energy the team is showing, standing on my own I can’t do anything, all 11 guys deserve the credit,” he added.

Kohli said it was important to back the bowlers.

“We have bowlers who have the pace, it is important to back them on any surface. It is important to give them confidence at the right times and they have to respond as well and that they did,” he insisted.

Delhi boy Kohli thanked the fans for coming out in huge numbers and supporting the team on all five days.

“I just want to thank the crowd, it has been tremendous playing in front of a packed stadium. Thank you for all your support,” said Kohli.

Twin centurion of this Test, Ajinkya Rahane bagged the Man of the match award for his efforts and said he backed himself to do well.

“I was focussed and determined. I backed myself to take my chances. I always like to improve my game, my cricketing skills. I believe in the process because I know the results will follow automatically,” he said.

Asked about his two centuries in two innings, Rahane said, “Really enjoyed that. Really happy for myself and my team.”

The Man of the series, Ravichandra Ashwin, who took 31 wickets in the series and also scored some valuable runs, said winning this Test was a fitting finale to a wonderful series.

“I think it is a great feeling, a fitting finale to a wonderful series. We were going for it, we fought really hard.

They (SA) dug in really deep.”

Ashwin said he got huge support from Ravindra Jadeja at the other end.

“There’s not much bounce. I got massive support from Jadeja, he hits the stumps so often. It was an amazing support from me, and let’s not forget Umesh (Yadav), who also bowled very well today,” he said.

Meanwhile, South Africa skipper Hashim Amla applauded his players’ efforts for putting up a fight in the last Test here.

“We knew we had to bat long and hard, we tried our exceptional best. AB (de Villiers) had a fantastic effort. You got to do what is best for the team, it is easy to go out there and get some runs, but we tried to take it as deep as possible, get something from this game.

“I am happy that the guys fought hard. Unfortunately, we were outplayed by India throughout the series, they batted and bowled better than us,” said Amla.

He, however, said that his batsmen failed during the Test series.

“Winning the T20s and the ODIs was brilliant. As a whole, we managed to have some success. It was a good learning experience for the youngsters in the team.

“Test series was tough for our batsmen, we didn’t get enough runs. Credit to our seamers on these pitches, just unfortunate we couldn’t get the runs to back them up,” said Amla.

Always knew the answer, hope you guys got it now: Kohli

Virat Kohli was at his jovial best as he took a dig at the media stating that his team always “had answers” when it came to winning matches irrespective of the playing conditions.

Kohli has had to answer the maximum questions on spin-friendly tracks provided at Mohali and Nagpur where the Test matches ended inside three days.

When asked if he has replied to all those who were seeking an answer on how the team plays in adverse conditions, Kohli gave a tongue-in cheek reply.

“We always knew the answer. It is you people, who perhaps did not get the answer but today I guess you got the answer. I was waiting for this question (laughs), 5-6 questions and no questions on the pitch. No questions on whether the ball was turning,” he had that wry smile on his face as everyone presented started laughing.

He then explained that what is being written is not in his hands but terming victories on basis of pitches prepared was something that he found unfair.

“The articles that are being written and what people read is also a sort of reaction. You watch something and you write an article. So when you ask a question on a specific issue, you will get a specific answer (from me). It’s not that you will ask a question and I will say ‘Next question’ Obviously I will answer that but I have a way of explaining while giving an answer,” the skipper said.

“We believe we can win against any opposition at any place in the world. Now how that will be presented (by you) is not in our control. We can only control our performance with the bat and the ball. We can’t control what people hear and read.

“Now, I can’t sit and vouch about how good a team we are. You are free to write whatever you want. All we can do is to perform. If we do well, you will write good things, if we falter, our weaknesses will be pointed out which is fair. But if it’s written that pitch is a factor in victory, then it’s unfair,” Kohli in a polite yet firm manner put across his point on the entire debate about the tracks.

Kohli also lauded the dogged defending by the Proteas and called it a “difficult skill” as it also tested the ability of his bowlers.

“To play like that is a difficult skill. I was surprised with their approach. More than that, they were happy that bowlers were going through a phase where their patience and character would be tested. We came out with flying colours.

“We knew that Test cricket is about three sessions and we knew when will get that one chance. We had to make sure that we have to be in that mindset to cash in. Everyone had proper intensity and we were able to finish the game,” said the captain.

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Printable version | Mar 25, 2020 3:05:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/south-africa-tour-of-india-india-versus-south-africa-test-series-this-is-a-special-win-as-we-had-to-work-harder-says-virat-kohli/article7958218.ece

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