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India vs New Zealand: Team India cannot expect pretty long off-season, says Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli said that workload management is necessary and players will start taking breaks on their own when they feel the need for it.

IANS Reported by: IANS
Christchurch Published on: March 02, 2020 12:40 IST
India vs New Zealand
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Team India cannot expect pretty long off-season, says Virat Kohli

Before the start of the New Zealand tour, skipper Virat Kohli had questioned the scheduling of the series against the Black Caps.

Addressing the media ahead of the opening T20I at Eden Park, Kohli had said that it was coming to a scenario where players were landing at the stadium from one series to the other.

One month later, following the culmination of the tour in which India managed to win the T20Is, but were comprehensively defeated in the ODIs and the Test matches, Kohli said the team cannot expect getting a "pretty long off-season".

"As I said earlier, I do not think I would face any problem in the next two or three years, it is what it is. If players think there is too much cricket, then they will start prioritising formats and then take breaks accordingly. There is no option apart from that. You cannot expect that the Indian team gets a pretty long off-season," Kohli told reporters on Monday after India's defeat in the second and final Test at the Hagley Oval.

"In the present situation, taking breaks is the only solution as the (Future Tours Programme) FTP is already there. We have to manage looking at the situation. Taking breaks is important, if a bowler goes down in the middle of the match, then you notice what can go wrong. It is our responsibility to manage the workload," he added.

The Indian skipper further said that he didn't feel ashamed to accept that they were outplayed by a better team.

"Disappointed as to how we played in the Test series. We were completely outplayed in this series, we did not play the brand of cricket we usually do. We need to address the issues straight up and not be in denial. We have a lot of cricket away from home this year and we would want to correct our mistakes. We were not brave in moments," he said.

"I am sure no one was saying that in the first part of the tour. We got by the better team in the World Cup semi-final and now in the Test series. There is no shame in accepting defeat as they (New Zealand) have just played much better cricket. We do not want to term the Kiwis as a 'bogey' team. Recognising what went wrong is important and one should not be in denial.

He also defended his deputy Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara who managed just 91 and 100 runs respectively in the four Test innings.

"Firstly, Rahane is one of those players who has been solid for us in Test cricket. It is about impact performances and he has played some crucial knocks. You also have to figure out as to how many guys average more than 40 in your team. Few games here and there if you don't score runs, it doesn't mean you are a bad player. There are no issues there," Kohli said.

"In the Australia series, Pujara was the standout player. You cannot single out anyone. We have an aim of scoring big runs, it can happen with everyone scoring 50 or 60 or with one guy scoring 150 as Pujara did in Australia. In our team, we work as a collective unit," he added.

The 31-year-old also defended Rishabh Pant's selection over Wriddhiman Saha in the Test series. Pant, who didn't feature in a single T20I or ODI, managed to score 60 runs in the four Test innings, with a highest of 25.

"We have given a lot of chances to Rishabh, you need to figure out when is the right time to give someone a chance. I don't see anyone taking their place for granted in this team, no one here has come in thinking that I am going to play every game," Kohli said.

"Rishabh has worked very hard behind the scenes, so we thought of giving him a chance in this series. We thought he will come good in this series, but as a collective unit, we did not show a good batting performance," he added.

India will next face South Africa in the three-match ODI series beginning March 12 in Dharamsala

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