T20 World Cup: We failed to play attacking cricket in first two games, admits Kohli

Indian captain Virat Kohli (right) thanked outgoing coach Ravi Shastri after the win over Namibia. (ICC Twitter)
Indian captain Virat Kohli (right) thanked outgoing coach Ravi Shastri after the win over Namibia. (ICC Twitter)

Kohli's team would return home from an ICC tournament empty-handed yet again


Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Mon 8 Nov 2021, 10:30 PM

Last updated: Tue 9 Nov 2021, 7:00 AM

‘Caddick strikes when it doesn’t matter,” screamed the headline of The Daily Telegraph after Andrew Caddick’s inspired spell of fast bowling had earned England a consolation win in the dead rubber of their humiliating 2003 Ashes campaign Down Under.

Eighteen years later at the T20 World Cup, India’s resounding nine-wicket win in the dead rubber over Namibia – after New Zealand had crushed their semifinal hopes by beating Afghanistan - would remind cricket buffs of that taunting headline from The Daily Telegraph, mocking an English team that would only win the occasional battle in the wars over the famous urn.

This Indian team under Virat Kohli, though, have been formidable in the past five years. But history would taunt them for their failure on the big stage.

Kohli’s men would return home from an ICC tournament empty-handed yet again, with their failure to reach even the semifinals compounding their misery.

This is not the end Kohli had envisioned as the captain in the T20 format.

And a consolation win over a minnow was not the farewell gift Ravi Shastri would have wanted in his last assignment as India coach.

But life moves on. And Kohli would soon make way for a new T20I captain, who could be none other than Rohit Sharma.

The Indian vice-captain was in majestic form on Monday evening as his 56 off 37 balls and the 86-run opening stand with KL Rahul (54 not out off 36 balls) ended Kohli’s journey as T20 captain on a winning note, after the bowlers had restricted Namibia to 132 for eight at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Kohli, 33, admitted captaining the team in all three formats has taken its toll.

“It's been an honour but things need to be kept at the right perspective. I felt this was the right time to manage my workload. It's been six or seven years of heavy workload and there is a lot of pressure,” he said at the post-match presentation.

Kohli said India suffered due to their failure to perform when it mattered in the first two games against Pakistan and New Zealand.

“It's a game of margins - T20 cricket these days. Two overs of attacking cricket at the top is what we were missing in the first two games. As I said, we weren't brave enough in those games and in the group we were in, it was tough,” he said.

Great gesture

India entered the field wearing black armbands as a mark of respect to Tarak Sinha, the legendary Delhi coach who passed away on Saturday at the age of 71 after a two-year battle with cancer.

Sinha had produced 12 international cricketers during his illustrious coaching career. And his most famous pupil, wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, was in the thick of things on Monday, taking two catches behind the stumps.

Kohli to continue as a player

After the winning runs were scored, Kohli announced that he would continue as a player in the T20 format without ever compromising with his style of cricket.

“That (aggression) is never going to change. The day it does, I'll stop playing cricket,” said Kohli before acknowledging the support the team had received from the outgoing coach, Shastri.

“A big thank you to all those guys (Shastri and his support staff). They have done a great job over the years, creating such a wonderful environment for the players. They have done a really great job.”

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