India captain Virat Kohli called on fans to back his team following consecutive losses to England in the ongoing Test series, hoping that they “never give up” on the side.
For the first time under his captaincy, India lost a Test match by an innings after a limp performance at Lord’s and there are concerns over this team’s – especially the batsmen’s – ability to bounce back. The team cannot afford to lose another match if they are hoping to avoid a second overseas Test series defeat in 2018.
“Sometimes we win and other times we learn. You never give up on us and we promise to never give up on you either. Onwards and upwards,” read a message on Kohli’s official facebook page, accompanied by a picture of the Indian team in an on-field huddle.
Kohli, after a hundred in the first Test, couldn’t bail his team out in the second match and, to complicate matters, was visibly troubled by a back problem. Following the innings and 159-run loss at the Lord’s, the skipper admitted that the team combination was “a bit off” when questioned specifically on selection decisions so far but insisted that the side would bounce back.
“(At) Two-nil down the only option is to come out positive, make it 2-1 and make it an exciting series from there,” Kohli had said.
“It’s our job and our duty to play for the country, and we should be better than that,” insisted Kohli in the post-match presentation. “Unless you accept that, you can’t improve and compete. We have to accept what we did wrong – mistakes have been made – and not repeat them again. Credit has to go to England who were clinical with the bat, ball and in the field. They deserved to win and we deserved to lose.”
The fans’ response to Kohli’s post varied from backing the captain and his team, to questioning the team selections and Ravi Shastri’s tactical nous as a coach.
“It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. We always love our Indian cricket team and captain Kohli. Just read the conditions and pick the team wisely,” read one comment by Inderjit Singh
Another comment, by user Vineet Karakkarn, called for a pretty radical change: “India’s main concern lies in the opening pair. I think one try should be given to Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane. Because Rohit Sharma’s complete transformation as a player in ODIs came after he started playing as an opener. Maybe he can bring that game in test matches as well.. Anyhow all the openers have failed till now.”
“I’ve always been sceptical about Shastri being head coach,” wrote Siddharth Purohit. “I admire [Anil] Kumble for his professionalism and disciplined attitude. He was way better than Shastri.”
The third Test starts this Saturday in Nottingham, following which the Indian team for the remaining two matches would be named.