Despite a disappointing show by his fielders in the ODI series decider in Pune, Indian captain Virat Kohli has defended the side for exhibiting the right 'intent'. The Indian captain stated that the fielder who drops a catch is the one most gutted.
India had an off day on the field as several catches went down at critical junctures. Hardik Pandya, who dropped Ben Stokes and Sam Curran, bowled a brilliant penultimate over that saw Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan dropping catches.
In the post-match presentation, Virat Kohli praised Sam Curran for his brilliant innings of 95* that kept England in the hunt. He said about India’s fielding and death-bowling effort:
“When top-two teams battle, you get exciting games. England will not throw in the towel at any stage. Sam played well, but we kept taking wickets to put enough pressure on them. The mindset shifted in the last couple of overs from us, finishing it off to them getting over the line before Hardik and Nattu pulled it back.
Virat Kohli, who took a brilliant diving catch, further said:
“It’s most disappointing for the guy who drops the catch, but as much as you get disappointed, catches get put down, and sometimes they cost you. There’s no lack of intent, and our body language was outstanding. Eventually, we got over the line".
A brilliant exhibition of death bowling from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya and T Natarajan helped India survive a brilliant Sam Curran knock to clinch a thriller by seven runs to take the series.
One of the finest seasons for Virat Kohli’s India
The season started for India with the Australia tour, where Virat Kohli’s men suffered a 1-2 loss in the ODIs. India returned stronger in the T20Is and clinched the series 2-1.
India began well in the day-night Test in Adelaide, with Virat Kohli leading the way. However, an hour of madness brought the Indian side to its lowest ebb, as they were bowled out for a paltry 36 to suffer a humiliating defeat.
Virat Kohli left home on paternity leave, and Mohammed Shami broke his hand. Led by Ajinkya Rahane, India levelled the series in Melbourne. A spirited fightback from the depleted Indian side saw them win the series 2-1 after they breached Australia’s Gabba fort by becoming the first team to win there in 32 years.
Barely a fortnight after the Australian highs, the England series started.
Joe Root led England to a win in the first Test in Chennai. But Virat Kohli's men returned stronger and won the next three Tests to seal their place in the ICC World Test Championship final.
Despite not being at full strength, India beat England, the top team in both formats, to win both the T20I and ODI series.