Opinion: Chahal and Kohli's comments on ODI series loss highly irresponsible
Virat Kohli was quite nonplussed after the Auckland ODI loss, handing a 2-0 advantage to the Kiwis
ODIs aren't too relevant this year compared to Tests and T20s, but to find people who can play that way under pressure is a big revelation for us and a big plus.
"Overall, if you see it is just the fourth or fifth series loss in the last 4-5 years. The other team is also here to play. You cannot win every match. We have won one series, lost the other, so it is not something too serious to ponder over." said Yuzvendra Chahal after Mount Maunganui loss.
The above two statements made by the Indian captain and Indian leg-spinner gives a glaring insight into the attitude of the current Indian team. It perhaps also explains why India haven’t lifted an ICC trophy in seven years. While it is true that India have won more than they have lost under Kohli’s tenure, for a captain to come up with a statement like ‘ODIs aren't too relevant’ is highly reprehensible. Has Kohli forgotten than this is not a domestic tournament like the IPL, and that he is representing the Indian national team? Would he have the guts to make a similar statement after losing an IPL game for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)? Imagine the backlash from the owners who pay him crores.
Also see - India New Zealand head to head
In a country of over a billion people, only a chosen few get the opportunity to represent the nation at the highest level in cricket. The least the fans expect from the players is to give their best, winning and losing is another matter altogether. Of course, players are only human and we do not expect the team to win each and every match. However, to term a series irrelevant is a clear declaration of not taking things seriously, at least the statement made it sound so. There was no sense of pride in the manner in which India conducted themselves in the one-dayers in New Zealand (and after), which was highly disappointing.
And if the New Zealand ODIs were irrelevant, someone needs to remind Kohli and co. of the team’s performance in relevant matches - shocking loss to Pakistan in the 2017 Champions Trophy Final and the abject surrender to New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup semi-finals, both games in which Kohli fell for single figure scores. And while with relevance, going by Kohli’s yardstick, the celebrations after the so-called historic Test series win in Australia were uncalled for as it came against a weak opponent, a side devoid of their two batting greats - Steve Smith and David Warner.
Legendary teams of the past have etched their name forever in history because of their ruthless attitude towards victory. Be it the West Indies of the 70s and 80s or the Aussies of 2000s. Their single-minded dedication to win at all costs against all odds is what made them what they are - GREAT. And what message is Kohli giving out to youngsters like Yashasvi Jaiswal, who dream to make it big facing the most gruelling of hardships? That once you make it big it is okay to take things a little lightly once in a while?
Coming to Chahal, he needs to get a serious reality check about his priorities. The leg-spinner went to England for the World Cup as one of India’s trump card, but came a complete cropper. In the game against hosts England, he came up with a horror show conceding the most runs by an Indian in a World Cup match. Even his overall performance in the mega tournament was disappointing. Ever since, he has been more out that in of the Indian squad.
Chahal did pick up wickets in the last two ODIs against the Kiwis, but they weren't game-changing efforts like some of his memorable earlier performances. Perhaps, the leg-spinner should focus less on Chahal TV and more on getting his career back on track. This is highly relevant. Kohli too would agree.
Mind you, the current crop of Indian players have done India proud many times in the recent past. And they deserve all the credit for it. One can also understand that they been playing non-stop cricket for the last few months. However, what rankles is the fact that they did not seem even a bit hurt after the ODI loss to New Zealand.
To brush aside a whitewash, their first in a bilateral ODI series in 31 years, as ‘irrelevant’ and ‘nothing too serious’ is something die-hard Indian fans will not, and should not, take kindly to.
Published 12 Feb 2020, 16:00 IST