India captain Virat Kohli admitted his team was “not brave enough” after an eight-wicket rout by New Zealand left their Twenty20 World Cup hopes hanging by a thread on Sunday.
Fast bowler Trent Boult and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi shared five wickets to restrict India to 110 for seven after being invited to bat first in the Super 12 clash in Dubai.
Skipper Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell, who made 49, put on 72 runs for the second wicket as the Kiwis romped home in 14.3 overs and handed India their second straight loss of the tournament.
After the defeat, speaking to the host broadcaster during the post-match presentation ceremony, Kohli said: “Quite bizarre. To be very honest and brutal up front, I don’t think we were brave enough with bat or ball.”
The statement did not go down well with former India skipper Kapil Dev, who felt it was the last thing a captain should say or feel.
“For a big player like him, it is a very weak statement,” Dev said on ABP News. “If that is the kind of body language the team has and if that is the kind of thought process the captain has, it is really tough to lift the team. I felt a little strange hearing those words. He isn’t that kind of a player.”
Kapil added: “He is a fighter. I think he got lost in the moment or something. A captain should not say words like ‘we were not brave enough’. You are playing for your country and he has the passion. But when you say such words, fingers will definitely be pointed.”
India, who lost their first Super 12 match to Pakistan by 10 wickets, are in danger of missing the semi-finals.
They have no points from two games while old rivals Pakistan lead the way with six points and Afghanistan have four after three games each.
The performance against New Zealand left Dev extremely disappointed.
“I don’t have words,” said Dev. “How much can we even criticise? A team that claims to have played the IPL and gain practice, when it plays like this, there will be criticism.”
He added: “When you win, no amount of praise is enough, but right now, no amount of criticism is enough because they did not play the kind of cricket expected of them. You fight and lose, we understand. But today there was not a single performance which we can be happy about.”