Conditions Impacted Mindset: Kohli

By Dhanu Delphi on March 3, 2020

This is one test series that Indian captain Virat Kohli will want to forget as soon as possible. Considered by many to be the best batsman in world cricket today, Kohli’s form deserted him throughout the New Zealand tour and saw him lose the ODI series 3-0 which was followed by a 2-0 test defeat.

Kohli Says Fear Changed Mindset

India are ranked the number one test team in the world because they have made it a habit in the last few years to play well overseas and dominate at home. They certainly did not play like the number one test side in New Zealand and the main reason for this was because the batsmen failed collectively.

Virat Kohli was very candid in analysing his team’s performance and blamed the collective failure of his batsmen on fear. Kohli said that under his captaincy he has never seen the team adopt such a mindset as they did going into the test series. Kohli said all of the batsmen seemed over concerned with the conditions and how the pitch was going to play.

The overthinking caused fear to creep in which ultimately impacted their game and resulted in low scores overall. The Indian batsman had no answers to the swing and seam of Trent Boult and Tim Southee or the pace of young Kyle Jamieson.

Batting Stats In Two Match Test Series

We must look at some of the batting stats during the two match test series to put things into perspective and see just how much of an impact this ‘fearful’ thinking had on the Indian batsmen.

India struggled because they just could not build partnerships. The average partnership per wicket during the series was just over 18; their third worst performance in their history of test cricket. The highest total that India was able to set in their four innings was just 242; a score that is not going to put any pressure on the opposition team. The highest score made by any Indian batsman was just 58 which was made by opener Mayank Agarwal.

The most telling fact is the form of Virat Kohli. The skipper made scores of 2, 19, 3 and 14 – a total of 38 runs in 4 innings. This was the second worst test series Kohli has had in his career; it certainly had an impact on the rest of the batsmen.

Fear Might Have Impacted Kohli Captaincy

While Kohli has been open to admit that fear is one of the main reasons why his batsmen failed, he hasn’t said anything about how fear and pressure impacted his captaincy. Kohli lost his cool in the media when a journalist asked him if he tried to be over aggressive. On the second day of the test match, Kohli had given his counterpart Kane Williamson a send-off.

Kohli defended himself by telling the reporter to not ask such questions without knowing what happened out there. No matter what happened on the field, the pressure of losing consecutive matches did get the better of him and it might have also got the better of his decision making skills.

India struggled to get the Kiwi tail out in both test matches; their 8th to 10th wicket partnerships averaged nearly 35! The Indian bowlers struggled to dismiss the tail and Kohli’s captaincy and field positions did not help them.

Forget But Remember

India and Virat Kohli will want to forget this series quickly. However, they will need to do a proper introspection and make the necessary adjustments; especially if they are keen on remaining the number one test team and winning the World Test Championship.