India had managed to defeat England by ten wickets within two days in the third Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that did not turn and skidded through from the spinners.
But critics have looked to blame the pitch for the failure of the batsmen.
“I totally believe that. There is always too much noise and conversation about spinning tracks,” said Kohli during a virtual press conference ahead of the fourth Test beginning on Thursday.
“I am sure if our media is in a space to contradict those views or present those views that say it is unfair to criticise just spinning tracks, then I think it will be a balanced conversation. The unfortunate part is that everyone plays along with that narrative and they keep making it news till the time it is relevant,” the India skipper added.
“Then a Test match happens. If it finishes on day four and five, nobody says anything, but if it finishes inside two-three days, everyone pounces on the same issue, it becomes the issue everyone is talking about. We lost in New Zealand on day three in just 36 overs; I am sure none of our people wrote about the pitch.
“It was all about how India played badly in New Zealand and none of the pitches were criticised,” he added.
Elaborating further, Kohli said: “Nobody saw how much the ball was doing and how the ball was moving and how much grass was there on the wicket. The reason behind our success is that we never crib about the pitches we play on. We will continue to do that as a team.
“It has always been the case that spinning tracks come into focus way more. When teams get bundled out for 40-45 on seaming tracks, nobody talks about that.
“It is always about bad batting then. We need to be honest to ourselves, from where we are talking, and what is the idea behind continuing this narrative and what serves the people by talking about this narrative.”
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When asked about his battle with James Anderson, Kohli said: “Anderson is a world-class bowler, I probably would have thought about how to handle him in 2014. From then onwards, I have treated every bowler as someone who is running in.
“I always look to play the ball, not the bowler. Having said that, he has gotten quite close to dismissing me a few times, a couple of catches were dropped. I could have been out to him in the last Test as well, but that does not make anyone someone’s bunny.
“These conversations are quite one-sided. It just becomes a conversation when I and Jimmy are against each other. We have a lot of respect for each other’s skill-sets.
“He is one of the best bowlers going around; you have to be at the top of your game when facing him. He hasn’t dismissed me in the last few games, but that does not make him any less of a potent bowler,” he added.
Kohli last scored a century way back in 2019 and has not been able to get to three figures since then.
When asked whether this is troubling him, Kohli said: “I am not in any haste or desperation because I understand where I stand as a batsman and what is my responsibility in the team. People look at milestones. If the team does not do well, then they look at captaincy.
“If the team does well but that batsman doesn’t score, they look at individual scores. For me, these are just issues oscillating between one another. My responsibility is to score runs and make sure I keep pushing the team forward and get involved in partnerships. Along that process, if milestones happen, then it’s great. But in the end, the team should win.”
The four-match series is currently being led by India (2-1) and the hosts just need to win or draw the final Test to qualify for the final of the World Test Championship [WTC] against New Zealand.
On the other hand, England are out of contention for the WTC final, and they would be playing in hope to end the four-match series 2-2.
If England win the last Test, then Australia would qualify for the WTC final.