Virat Kohli, India's Test captain, has spoken out against what he believes is an atmosphere where the Indian media and public at large are focusing on the team's weaknesses and not enough on its positives. Kohli also voiced his displeasure with former players in the media criticising the team, saying they should speak to current players in private, and felt those who had not played for the country had no right to comment on international cricketers.
Kohli's comments, part of an interview with BCCI.tv, come in the context of a series where India's win over South Africa was played out to a parallel theme of bad pitches, especially in Nagpur.
"It is a pity. The series happened in our country and our own people are looking for weaknesses and areas of criticism, and not speaking enough about the kind of good cricket we played," Kohli said.
"They have been talking about the pitches and how that has been a factor. In this series, four of the top five run-getters were Indians. Top two wicket-takers were Indians. We have had no excuses, we played honest cricket and we got the results in our favour. We are proud of what we have done and how we have played."
Throughout the South Africa series, Kohli maintained that the pitches had little to do with India's success, despite a number of television pundits claiming otherwise. Kohli admitted that he was "hurt" by former players who he once "looked up to" putting pressure on India by over-analysing the side's limitations when he felt they should have instead been throwing their weight behind the team.
"It obviously hurts when people who have played the game themselves make such comments," he said. "I am not saying all of them do it. Some of them understand the mindset of the players, having gone through similar situations in their careers. They lend you support, say the right thing and even help you with certain technicalities.
"But some people like to focus on the negatives. It feels bad as an Indian cricketer. Growing up, you have looked up to these people, and when you hear such comments from them you lose a bit of respect for them. It would be more respectful of them to come up and speak to a player individually if they feel there is some flaw that needs to be corrected.
"And someone who hasn't played for the country has no right to comment on an international cricketer anyway. I don't think that has any kind of logic. You cannot sit there and say how you would have done something differently when you have not been in that situation yourself and don't have the mindset of a cricketer."
"The series happened in our country and our own people are looking for weaknesses and areas of criticism, and not speaking enough about the kind of good cricket we played"
This is not the first time Kohli has spoken out against what he perceives to be unfair treatment from the media. During the World Cup in March, Kohli was officially warned by the BCCI for using abusive language against an Indian journalist. A month later, he lashed out at critics who he felt should be "ashamed of themselves" for going personal. Kohli reiterated those views even on Thursday, suggesting that the Indian media could not wait to criticise a player.
"You go to Australia or other countries, they keep showing a player's past good performances and talk about how good he is even when he is not in form. It helps the player gain confidence as well. It shows him that the whole system supports him. That's what we don't get. This has been a pattern over the years in India - players are criticised unnecessarily. When you lose, it's fine, but here, even when we are winning, they find new ways to criticise the team. It is completely bizarre.
"It is something we have started ignoring as a team, but it is important to put this out there because the public believes what has been said by those on the TV and in the media. The fans will form their opinion based on what they hear on the TV - the analysis done on a player and the comments made about him.
"And they will repeat the same thing to the player when they come across him anywhere. The player is subjected to snide comments wherever he goes on a daily basis, and it is a serious area of concern. It is very important for a player to be backed by his own people, and it is something we deserve. We are Test cricketers, we work hard every day and never take things for granted."