Kohli hurt by critics going personal
Virat Kohli, India's Test captain, has said that he was "disappointed" and "hurt" by the extreme reactions from sections of the media which were critical of him after he failed in the World Cup semi-final against Australia. Not just limiting their criticism to his batting, some even questioned the presence of Kohli's girlfriend during the World Cup campaign, saying it might have had a negative effect on his game.
According to Kohli, who finished as the third best Indian batsman in terms of runs - aggregate of 305, including a century against Pakistan in the tournament opener - the critics had easily forgotten that he had been the best batsman for India in the last five years.
"Personally I was very disappointed. I don't think anyone has helped India win as many matches or performed as consistently as I have in the last five years," Kohli said in Kolkata, where Royal Challengers Bangalore open their IPL campaign against Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday.
"After that, to see such reactions after just one poor innings, was very disappointing. What it does is it makes you lose faith in a lot of people. It's a good thing in a way - you get to know who's with you and who's not. It was indeed a very difficult, well, not difficult because it's not in my control. But the reactions were very disappointing."
Speaking on the issue for the first time in public, Kohli said the critics should be "ashamed" before going personal. "At a human level, I would say I was hurt. And the people that said things and the way they were said, they should be ashamed of themselves."
It was clear that Kohli had planned to make his feelings public today. Later on Friday afternoon as soon as the pre-match briefing at Eden Gardens came to an end, Kohli, unprompted, bared his feelings once again.
"The way people reacted towards my personal life and Anushka in particular was really disrespectful. I wanted to put it out there in public because at a human level I was really hurt. I wanted to express that for quite a long time but I wanted to take a break for a few days. It is very important for people to know we are human beings at the end of the day. We don't aim to become to successful. That is not our aim in life. We are doing what are doing. For people to react that way and to see what they did: blaming her for our loss [World Cup semis] and blaming her for my failure was absolutely hurtful for me. It is shameful to see that people can react like that to one loss. I just wanted to get out there because it is very important for people to know how we feel about these things. And that people should be respected more than they are in these sort of times in our country."
Kohli also couldn't grasp what the critics meant by being in form.
"I never know when my rough patch comes or when I am in form. It is for you all to decide - you make the judgements better than I do. It is funny because there are some standards a player sets for himself over a period of time and I like to perform consistently.
"So in my case if I don't do well in two games it is a dip in form whereas for some of the other players they perform two games out of ten they come back in form. I don't understand that and I don't really pay attention to it. It is how you hit the ball on that particular day. In my mind I am really more confident than I have been ever in my life."
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo