Team India skipper Virat Kohli spoke to the media at the SSC post his team’s historic win over Sri Lanka which ended a 22-year old series drought in the Emerald Isle.
Kohli was all praise for his team and credited Pujara’s fine century and Ishant’s match-winning spell as reasons behind the win.
Excerpts from the interview:
Thoughts on India’s historic win in the final session at Colombo?
VK): We knew that getting Angelo Matthews out was crucial and Ishant Sharma did exactly that with the new ball.
Also we did not let Matthews’ rock solid century to get in our minds and made the break-through after picking up the new ball.
Even Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra were superb throughout and tightened the noose on Sri Lanka’s batsmen post Matthews’ dismissal.
On Cheteshwar Pujara and Stuart Binny’s surprise inclusions?
VK): Look we tried to be as open minded as possible and both Pujara and Binny had a huge hand in this win.
If Pujara’s unbeaten century set the tone for the game then even Binny and others like Ashwin and Mishra knocked off valuable runs in our second essay which ultimately was the defining factor.
Also the idea was to help everyone express themselves freely on field.
Ishant’s on field spat with the Sri Lankans?
VK): Actually it benefited us in a way as it fired Ishant up and he delivered a match-winning performance later on.
Ishant has always bowled his heart out for us be it in England or Australia and even this game was no different.
Bouncing back after the Galle loss?
VK): We never got discouraged and were always positive despite that loss. The hardest part was that of losing that game despite dominating for the better part of it and we decided that come the next two games an encore will never happen.
The team stuck to their plans, batted, bowled and fielded well and eventually bounced back in the series.
Growth as a captain?
VK): Look I will never say that, another mistake and I will be labeled a child by the media (laughs). The only thing now is to look forward from here on and take every mistake I make is a learning curve.
If there are no mistakes from my part then progress won’t happen. Everyone has to stick together and work with the team management to deliver results.
Learning curve post Galle?
VK): Definitely, as the guys are now reacting differently to situations and have grown since that loss.
It has also benefited me personally with this game being evidence. I hope that if this trend continues and the entire team works as a unit in future there will be great games to come by.
The five bowler theory?
VK): It has worked wonders for us in this series with each and every member giving his best to get the opposition out in each of the Test matches.
If any one bowler was not up to the mark the others tried to compensate by upping their work rate.
Also this series has been a revelation for us with Day three of the Colombo Test being a classic example where the entire bowling unit toiled hard on a wicket that did not assist us much.
Despite that we came away with important wickets and managed to close the game out later on thus paving way to this win.
Did going for a draw on Day five of this game ever occur?
VK): Definitely not since we are a team that plays aggressive and positive cricket and aim to win. Despite Matthews’ resistance we pegged away and eventually won the game.
This is the brand of cricket we aim to play over the coming years and hope it inspires us to set a bench-mark and perform similarly against other opposition too.
Problem of riches in terms of team selection?
VK): It is a sign of good things to come considering the fact that we have many players vying for different slots. Though dropping some players may not go down well still whatever decision that the management takes is for the best of the team.