Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 1st day January 13, 2012

Virat Kohli blames ill luck


After India's worst day of Test cricket in recent memory, Virat Kohli, who top-scored with 44, had the look of a man wronged by the world. There was a point when he seemed like he actually had a lump in his throat, there was a point when he was angry, there was a point when he gave the Australian bowlers credit, there was a point when he blamed poor luck.

Most noteworthy was when he revealed the kind of pressure he has been under, trying to keep his place in the side. "I don't know why people were after me even after the first game," Kohli said. "I had scored two fifties before that in the match against West Indies [in Mumbai], and suddenly I was on the verge of being dropped after one match.

"Scoring eight hundreds in one-day internationals can't be a fluke. It's international cricket as well. I don't know why people have been questioning my technique or temperament so much. I have been playing at No. 3 in one-dayers, and I have not gone in to bat in very good situations in all of the 70 [odd] matches I have played. All of this is a learning curve for me. I am playing on difficult wickets, in Australia.

"As much as I have learned, I have just played six matches before this, and as much as I can learn and adapt to these situations it will be better for me in the future. This is not the end of the world, this is not the last series that is ever going to be played. I have still got to be positive. I have still got to keep working hard and not think about if I am going to get dropped or if someone else is going to play in my place. I really have no control over that. I can only go out and bat. That's all I am going to do."

Kohli went out and batted today. He got off to a good start too. He admitted he had better batting conditions than those who batted in the top order. Minutes before tea, though, he played a loose stroke, trying to drive length delivery uppishly. "I said this in Mumbai as well," he said. "I was questioned why I played that shot in the first innings [there]. Cricket always has a thin line between a mistake and pulling off really good shots. Those kind of deliveries, you need to hit for boundaries in international cricket. The way they were bowling, they weren't giving much. And you need to convert those loose balls into boundaries. Unfortunately I tried to go for one, I couldn't execute it properly."

That, though, has been the story of the tour. "From what I see, we have lost wickets at important stages of the match," Kohli said. "Even today we had an 80-run [68-run] partnership, and then we lost two wickets before tea. Those sort of balls you need to put away for boundaries if you want to score runs. You just can't go into a shell.

"The Australians came out and played their shots as well. Sometimes they [the shots] fly into gaps, sometimes they don't. Luck is a very important thing in cricket, which unfortunately hasn't been going our way in important phases. Just before breaks, after breaks, just before lunch, just before tea … we have lost important wickets at important times in matches. Just when we are about to convert that 80-run partnership into a 150-run one, we lose a wicket. That's all that has been happening. I don't think anyone has a lack of temperament or technique. Just that things haven't been going our way recently."

Kohli was asked if that actually might have more to do with the team not being mentally as strong as is ideal. He said: "I don't think we are not mentally competing with them," he said. "We haven't done well during those important phases in Australia. It's all about holding your temperament during those important phases, and pulling through, which unfortunately we haven't been able to do. Some do it well, some don't. That's the way the game of cricket goes. So when it goes our way we will make sure we take advantage of it. The game has four days to go. Anything can happen in cricket. They might lose wickets in a cluster. You never know what happens in cricket. It's a funny game."

Asked if this was the worst day of international cricket he had been part of when playing for India, Kohli, incredibly, said it wasn't. "I don't think so," he said. "We have had days when we have fielded longer than this. It's just one day. We still have four days left. I don't rate this as the worst day of Test cricket I have experienced."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on January 16, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    "Virat Kohli blames ill luck"... lol... Oz is the "lucky country"... lol... a no-brainer... Plus the billions of "lucky" rabbits feet we have... Hmm, maybe a big business opportunity waiting for an unlucky Indian captain?...

  • Al on January 15, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are two of the most talented Indian batsmen. They should be given opportunities to prove themselves in test cricket. BCCI should grow a backbone and get rid of the oldies - Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman. They are hanging around shamelessly - using their yesteryear feats to milk the system.

  • Abraham on January 14, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    It is technique not luck that will determine this man's future in Test Cricket. Indian cricket lies in shambles, our lack of coherent policy of managing the game has resulted in our utter humiliation. Winning or loosing is part of any game. But to be decimated in two days by a very average team has exposed the depths to which we have sunk. It is time for Dhoni to go,we definitely need a new Captain.On his current form, he does not even deserve a place in the team. The senior players, should seriously consider their retirement from the game. It is a shame that these stalwarts have to leave under such depressing circumstances. Srikant & his colleagues at the BCCI are culpable for this debacle. How on earth was Vinay Kumar ever selected? It was embarasing to watch this poor man being slaughtered. Fletcher the team coach is neither seen nor heard. This man needs to be sacked immediately. This is a very sad day for Indian cricket . This team has fallen apart.

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    before blames ill luck, learn how to play in overseas.

  • Vincent on January 14, 2012, 6:26 GMT


  • wayne on January 14, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    To a certain point, I agree that luck plays a part in test cricket. However, there's such a thing as creating your own luck. I'm a bit of an optimist, but I can't yet judge whether this Australian side is shaping up to be a good one, or whether the opposition has just been so dreadful - er, I mean "unlucky".

  • Zia on January 14, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    It's hard to believe a team that was #1 ranked 6 months ago is playing worse than the last ranked team. Goes to show what most of the non-Indians were saying all along about the flaws in the ranking system. A team that can only win at home is not worthy of the #1 ranking. If India plays at home for the next 2 years and gets back to a high ranking we will know the system is rigged. For now this tour can't end soon enough.

  • Dummy4 on January 14, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    Why is he trying to save his butt by justifying his centuries and scores? This is about a team and not individual players. Either the entire team fails or succeeds. Such comments about 'luck' and defending oneself simply show that there is no unity in the team. Team memebrs are are only on the lookout to save their own butt. No wonder India is getting trashed in every session. You need players to play for India and not for themselves.

  • Andrew on January 14, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    One day doesn't win a test, India need to bowl Oz out by Tea (currently Lunch they have 3 wickets). == == == Kohli should of played as a medium pacer @ #8. he'd have to be better than Kumar. He didn't look up to it as a test bowler!

  • Randolph on January 14, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    Haha kohli has a nice drop to add to his poor series!

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