South Africa v India, 2nd ODI, Durban December 7, 2013

'No one in Indian team is frightened of anything' - Kohli


Handicapped by poor scheduling from the BCCI and India's ordinary bowling, Virat Kohli was left to defend his fellow batsmen against statements from the opposition that some of them might have been frightened in the first ODI, which India lost by 141 runs. Kohli admitted they were outplayed by South Africa, but said there was no way they were frightened.

When told of Dale Steyn's comment that South Africa's bowlers might have inflicted scars that run deeper than just the one match, that the Indian batsmen might have been frightened, Kohli smirked a little, and said: "I don't think so. On a personal level, I don't think so. As I said, I was down the wicket to the fourth ball I faced. It is not about getting frightened or anything like that. He is a quality bowler and we all know that, and we should be good enough to tackle that and come up with the goods when we face him.

"I don't think anyone in this Indian team is frightened of anything. Regardless of the loss the other day, you didn't see anyone sort of closing their eyes to bouncers or getting out throwing their bats around. We were trying hard to counter the bowling they came up with, and they were bowling in great areas, but you didn't see anyone sort of moving away from stumps and trying rash shots or anything like that. We were all trying to get into positions to play correct shots, but they pitched it in the right areas and were getting enough help to trouble us."

Kohli's stepping out to Steyn happened because the Indian bowlers had conceded 358, and the batsmen couldn't afford to take any time to get used to the conditions. As it is they were not given any time to adjust to them before the match. After MS Dhoni, Kohli became the second Indian to mention the poor scheduling, but said they didn't have a choice but to accept it. "The unfortunate part is that we didn't get that too many practice sessions or practice games," Kohli said. "Our schedule has been such. It is unfortunate that we have to sort of play games and then get to know the conditions, rather than be prepared a week or 10 days before. That's all part of the busy schedule we have. We have got to go along with that, and be mentally strong to come back in the next game and perform better."

The same went for the bowling, too, Kohli said. "Bowlers are so used to bowling back home for the last few months that the lengths can't be changed at such a short notice," he said. "I think the bowlers do get excited with a bit of pace and bounce. It tends to happen every time. You see when there is bounce and pace in the wicket, the bowlers do tend to go a bit short because they feel they can bowl that length.

"We have understood, we have learned from the first game, and you will see a much better performance from the bowlers and the batsmen combined. It is all about learning. As I said, we don't have much time to prepare before the game so we would rather learn from the games, and move forward and improve our performances. I hope we pitch the ball in right areas and bat well tomorrow."

Kohli admitted it was tough to face Steyn, especially when chasing 359. "He was quite brilliant the other day," Kohli said. "He is a world-class bowler, and we all know that. To see him swing the ball from middle stump, and get it past the off stump, actually the fifth stump, it was tough to face. It was something very rare because not many can swing the ball like he does, and he was just in great rhythm and pitching the ball in the right areas.

"All you can do as a batsman is to try and upset his length, and that is why when I stepped out and I wanted to hit him over the infield to disturb the length he was bowling. Otherwise if you keep defending, you kept getting beaten, so you have to come up with something.

"We always knew that we will get bounce and pace in South Africa, and we had that in mind. We have plans as batsmen, but when you are chasing 359 there is not much you can do. You may have a set plan, you might tell yourself you don't want to play too many flashy shots in the beginning, but when you are chasing 360 you have to play those shots."

Conceding 358 might not have to do just with errant lengths. Steyn suggested India needed more pace on these pitches to trouble good batsmen. Kohli said the team will definitely consider more pace than that of Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Mohit Sharma. India will need all that and more if they are to come out of this hole.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Tahir on December 8, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    We should not lose heart as Dhoni wanted to chase and with India top order runs and then the finishers can handle this pressure. I will keep my fingers crossed for an Indian win. Taking no praise away from SA who have shown that they are great force in world cricket and have the ability to humiliate world champions roughly at will.

  • Android on December 8, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    rahane will fail. a duck probablyy. DK should be given an comeback. Dhawan And Dhoni will the key players in the match.

  • Hamza on December 8, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    Why Indians don't understand that it's not an easy thing to beat SA in SA. Not everyone is capable of doing it. Pak did it becuz they had world class bowling attack. Now if Indian people thinking that India would do the same, i can't stop laughing. Its not children's play that any mediocre team goes to SA and beat them. Come on! i mean seriously, come on!

  • Wajahat on December 8, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    This is the poor techniques of Indian batters which is showing here against quality bowling and quality pitches... they can only play the shots on flat indian pitches.. thatz all..

  • Arulprakash on December 8, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    If winning overseas is the yardstick what has SA won in subcontinent in their history ? Or for the matter any ICC tournament in any country ? A BIG ZERO.

  • Daison on December 8, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    If today any fast bowler deserve to say "I scared the batsmen" that is Steyne (along with Johnson) and if he chose to say that, good for him. Let the Indian batters show they are not affected by any of that. Kohli showed the stomach to say he is not affected - I dont think UV or Raina would say what Kohli said. From what we saw recently against Australia and SA, after two wickets fall send Dhoni in anyway, as UV and Raina will only waste time walking in the walking straight out. Just let them field and bowl couple of overs and the bat with 9 batsmen. Just let UV and Raina travel with the team and have some fun.

  • PeterJerome on December 8, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    I think 1 win for India in the ODI series would be more than sufficient to have SA shaking in their boots for the test series. C that one coming today from under the table. SA is hugely underestimating the Indian bowlers. Good try by MSD by pitching the Mohit option, which unfortunately did not pay off. I mean v do not hv 150K bowlers to trouble SA with pace, hence Mohit's swing was an option worth exploring. Didnt work, it will b back to basics today.

  • Varun on December 8, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    out 123 matches kohli has played, he boasts an avg of over 45 on all overseas venues, hence adaptability is evident in numbers. about rohit, he fought for long and got run out, cut him some slack. he has shown patience and perseverance time and again. dhawan, lets face it , is the best opener we have seen in long time for india. raina although wasnt vry comfy ther but seemed like gettin in groove before that ethereal throw from steyn.should be given one last chance i think. now yuvi has been gettin out in same fashion for quite some matches, towards the beginning of his innings, offering real sloppy shots. also, i dont remember yuvi carrryin the innings on tough tracks. no doubt he wrecks bowling on flat ones but is there an inning where he put up a fight on torrid tracks?i think all he has to do is focus hard at start of innings.also dhoni has to come at 4 to ease pressure on underperformin middle order + he gets time to finish off innings and not lose only cos he ran out of partnrs.

  • Rohan on December 8, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    India still can perform well on foreign pitches and retain no 1 in rankings when they stop worrying too much on SA bowlers specially Dale styne and Morkel.India should never worry as long as they have quality batsmen like Kohli,Sharma,Dhawan,Dhoni.i Believe India can prove to other nations like pakistan and specially England and Australia that they have enough ability to overcome trouble and pressures from SA bowlers.Each Indian Player has to play natural game and think how to perform the best from their previous performances.

    Best of Luck India!!!!Millions are supporting you,don't forget this.

  • Rohan on December 8, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    Indian batsmen showing their best abilities against any team in India but less wining performances on foreign pitches specially on bouncy pitches.India has to little worry on their middle order batsmen (except Dhoni) ,particularly talking about yuvi and raina,they are neither scoring good runs in india as wel on foreign pitches nor showcasing their talent in bowling,simply they are loosing chances.I feel yuvi can comeback only when he has fire within else just taking things lightly.and about raina please put him out and let him know how other players (bring rahane in place of raina) performing well if given chance.Also Sir jadeja is simply waste,neither a good bowler nor better batsmen.bring pujara in place.On bowling Contemporary give chance to ishant or unnadkat replacing M sharma.

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