India’s batting failures ‘not about technique’, says Kohli

Batsmen “only need to bring down the margin of error” to turn the tide in the rest of the series, according to the Indian captain.

Not unduly worried: Virat Kohli at a press conference on Wednesday ahead of the second Test at Lord’s.   -  AFP

Virat Kohli has jumped to the defence of India’s batsmen, believing that all they need to do to fix their issues is show greater composure.

“We should not judge them so fast and jump to conclusions,” he said. “As a team, we keep patience. We don’t judge so fast. We don’t see any pattern to [the failures]. As far as wickets falling in a heap is concerned, it is not about technique, it is more of a mental aspect. There must be a clear plan on how to face the first 20-30 balls, and more often than not that plan does not involve aggression. There we need some composure, other than aggression. As a batting unit we have discussed that.”

Kohli added: “From the outside it looks very bad. It is Test cricket and we are playing in England where it is anyway difficult. But we only need to bring down the margin of error and beyond that we don’t need to worry too much.”

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India’s captain scored nearly half of the team’s runs in the first Test at Edgbaston; he was asked if he felt let down by his colleagues. “It is not like I feel bad that I got runs and we couldn’t get across the line,” he said. “It is purely because we haven’t won the games. If I hadn’t got the runs and we had won, I would have got a totally different feeling. It doesn’t matter whether I get the runs or Jinks [Rahane] does or [M.] Vijay does or K. L. [Rahul] does or whoever does. As long as we cross the line, that is the only thing that matters.”

Leaving no stone unturned

Kohli was also asked, perhaps a little harshly, if he had failed to inspire his team-mates. “I am doing as much as I can as captain; there is constant feedback from the management. I feel I have had really good communication with all the players. Being in the right mindset is a very individual thing and as captain you can only have meetings and chats which we do on a regular basis,” he said.

Kohli added: “I definitely leave no stone unturned when it comes to getting in there, talking to the guys wherever I can from the strategy point of view as well. Sometimes it doesn’t come off. It is not like we are getting rolled over or dominated. Any Test match we are playing, we are competitive. That is something people are overlooking very easily. If we tweak a few things here and there we should be on the right side of the result.”

Kohli ‘tempted’ to field two spinners at Lord’s
  • India could be “tempted” to field two spinners in Thursday’s second Test at Lord’s, Virat Kohli has stated. The pitch wore a coat of green on match-eve but the surface is expected to be dry underneath. It's a tempting thought,” Kohli said. “The pitch looked very hard, the surface looked very dry. It has been very hot in London for the last couple of months. There is good grass cover in it and that is required basically to keep the wicket together, otherwise it is going to be very difficult to hold it together.”
  • The Indian captain added: “The pitch is going to be all-round: if batsmen bat well, they can get runs. Obviously, the Dukes ball [will swing] in overcast conditions, and when the wicket wears off the spinners can come in. It’s a tempting thought to field two spinners but we have to take a call on that depending on the team balance. But two spinners are definitely in contention.”
  • His counterpart, Joe Root, was not certain if it would be a good idea but was still keeping his options open. England named a 12-member side on Wednesday, with Jamie Porter left out. “I'm not sure, having played quite a lot here, if it [the pitch] will change a huge amount. But we just want to make sure, be really clear, that going into the game we can be really confident we’ve got the best 11 players to take 20 wickets on that surface. So we’ll turn up tomorrow, see if it looks any different, and then make that decision,” he said.