The wound is still fresh and a hard pill to swallow, it's been nearly two weeks since the World Cup heartbreak in Manchester and Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli is still digesting the shock exit from the quadrennial tournament in England.
Once again, there's barely much of a break for the Men in Blue to recuperate before they're back to the gruelling season ahead of them, beginning with India's tour of West Indies which commences from August 3. The series includes three T20Is, three ODIS and two Tests.
However, before India begin their journey after the World Cup, the Indian captain addresses the elephant in the room and talks about India's World Cup exit and the ability to deal with setbacks.
"The worst setbacks have not only motivated me but also improved me as a person, made me understand the importance of those times more than the success. It makes you sit down and think about what you need to do now, build a roadmap for yourself," Kohli told The Times of India.
"When your belief is right up there and everyone's playing so well, and suddenly, you know, you've been outplayed. It's very difficult to digest because you know you didn't make many mistakes to be knocked out. When you make mistakes, you can point them out and take ownership of that but when you have been outplayed then the acceptance becomes difficult. You wake up and think you didn't do much wrong but we are still out."
In a two-day semi-final in Manchester, India at one point saw the road to the final, but what hit them the other day, was unexpected. New Zealand were able to defend 239/8, beating India by 18 runs. The top order collapsed, the middle order was exposed once again and the lower order did what they could but fell just 18 runs short.
The skipper has asked his players to be humble, be proud of the way they played and not to lose admiration.
"What we have spoken to the team is that you should be proud of the way you have played and must never forget that. The moment you start taking credit away from what you've done, you start putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. The important thing is to be humble about what you do but at the same time, don't beat yourself up to the extent that you lose your admiration. That balance is very important," said the skipper.
Shifting focus onto the upcoming season, most of the series have a homely touch as India only travel to West Indies in August (A), which will be followed by South Africa (September) (H), Bangladesh (October) (H), West Indies (December) (H), Australia (January) (H), then travel to New Zealand (January) (A).
The Indian selectors have announced the squads for the West Indies tour, where we get to see a few new faces as Rahul Chahar and Navdeep Saini recieve their maiden T20I call up. Talking on how youngsters are rapidly making an impact, Kohli is amazed by their level of confidence.
"They are amazing. The level of confidence that they have is amazing to see. As I have mentioned so many times before, at 19-20, we were not even half the players these guys are. Skills have developed because of exposure to tournaments like the IPL. It's the best thing that can happen to a cricketer. They are so confident by the time they come here that they learn very quickly from their mistakes because they have already played in front of so many people. But the intent has to be that 'I am using this platform to play for my country'. And I think that these guys are in that zone," said Kohli.
Despite the T20I fever already taking over with the T20 World Cup next year, Kohli is also ecstatic for the Test championship and excited to play the sport the traditional way.
"It's very exciting. I think it's happening at the right time for Test cricket. Although you are going to play bilateral series, the meaning and importance are way more. You have to plan for every series. I was excited about something of this sort and now it's coming to life," said the Indian skipper.
India play West Indies in a three-match T20I series, three-match ODI series and two Tests, beginning with the 1st T20I on August 3 in Lauderhill, florida.