Tri-Series: Virat Kohli says you win and lose as a team after India's big defeat vs Sri Lanka
During the Champions Trophy, Dhoni declared India the best fielding side, but the team that turned up in Sabina Park on Tuesday (July 2) didn't bear any resemblance to that one, dropping multiple catches, missing run-outs and being generally sloppy with their ground fielding. Kohli did not point fingers at any one player for the shoddy performance and was still bullish about the tag Dhoni had given.
On a day when many records tumbled, India set one of their own, plunging to their biggest defeat in terms of runs (161) after winning the toss and electing to field. Sri Lanka hit 200 runs in the last 20 overs - which is when the match really got away from India. Virat Kohli, leading India in Mahendra Singh Dhoni's absence, rued the opportunities missed in the field for failing to put a lid on Sri Lanka's scoring. (Match - as it happened)
"They didn't lose any wickets and it's very difficult to control the runs especially with the powerplay as well. They say, "Catches win you matches" and we couldn't grab on to the chances we had," said Kohli, adding that the game "would have been completely different" if India had held on to their chances. (Match report)
"We dropped two set batsmen and they went on to get 160-170 runs [between them] after that," he said. Kohli thought India could have restricted Sri Lanka to a manageable 260-270 runs. (Stats: Ashwin's most expensive spell away from home)
During the Champions Trophy, Dhoni declared India the best fielding side, but the team that turned up in Sabina Park on Tuesday (July 2) didn't bear any resemblance to that one, dropping multiple catches, missing run-outs and being generally sloppy with their ground fielding. Kohli did not point fingers at any one player for the shoddy performance and was still bullish about the tag Dhoni had given. (Match in pics)
"I wouldn't point fingers at anyone. It's a team game. You win as a team and lose as a team. Even Jonty Rhodes dropped catches in his career. I think we are among the top fielding sides in the world. We have that much confidence in our fielding and in our abilities," said Kohli, describing the match as a one-off day. "You are going to have days where you will miss catches, you will misfield the ball. Last game, we were quite good in the field. It's a new day tomorrow. Sun is going to rise again. The tag is not taken away from us at all. One bad performance doesn't count you out as a good fielding side."
India needed a quick start after Sri Lanka had piled up 348 for 1, but that is not what they got from Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. Even more muddled was the promotion of Murali Vijay in Kohli's usual No. 3 spot, against an opposition that the captain had made his very own bowling machine.
"We would have loved a great start initially and take the momentum forward which you need in chasing a big total" said Kohli, while defending the move to send Vijay ahead of himself. "We wanted to give someone who has not played for a while a good chance right at the top of the order. So suddenly putting him at No. 5 or No. 6 would have been difficult for him. It was about giving him time in middle and hoping he gets some runs and will be confident in the games [going] forward. Unfortunately, the plans didn't work."
Kohli put down the all around miserable performance to "just one of those days" where his team was "not on the button" at all. There isn't much to take away from a complete shellacking like this, unlike the previous game where India ran West Indies close. "If you lose a close game, at least you know you have given a good effort and executed most things right but today was one of those days where we were outplayed by Sri Lanka."
Despite the forgettable performance from the team, it was a memorable day for Kohli as he took the field as India's captain. He had captained in the IPL before but, as he found out, captaining India is a different kettle of fish. "It is tough to be honest. This game teaches you a lot and I just learnt a big lesson today on how you should handle yourself, how you should control yourself on the field when a team is smashing you since you are playing against 11 international players. It's not the IPL... When you have 11 international players [in the opposition], they are not going to give you much chance to come back in to the game."
One of the traits that Kohli has shown repeatedly is how well he rises up to a challenge. The situation India finds itself in, on the brink, is tailor-made for him and he hoped his team-mates felt the same way. "I personally love this kind of a challenge where you have to win two games convincingly to go on to the final. I hope the ten other guys in the team can think like that. After winning the Champions Trophy, you want to top it by doing well, because you want to be a consistent, top side. I hope everyone has the mindset of taking up this as a challenge and put in strong performances."