India needs to learn the art of crossing the line- Virat Kohli

After conceding the series to England in Southampton, Indian captain Virat Kohli has said that his side failed to drive home the advantage in the first innings and this cost them the game. Virat kohli said Indian team cannot be satisfied with just competing overseas and it has to learn the art of crossing the line in a pressure situation. India suffered a 60-run loss in the fourth Test on Sunday after being dismissed for 184 while chasing a victory target of 245 set by England.

It cost India the series 3-1 and Kohli said that they need to understand the situation whilst at the crease and not after the game. “We can look at the scoreboard and say we were only 30 or 50 runs away, but we have to recognise that when we are in the midst of the situation, and not later. We know that we have played good cricket but we cannot say again and again to ourselves that we have competed,” Kohli said.

“When you come so close, there is an art of crossing the line as well, which we will have to learn. We have the ability, which is why we are getting close to a result. But when a pressure situation comes, how we react to it, is something we have to work on a bit.”

Like in South Africa, India started off the series lagging 0-2 but fought hard to reduce the deficit by clinching the third Test.

Kohli said his team needs to be more relentless and fearless to make better start to the overseas tours. “Look we’ve spoken about the fact that even during the match when we’re in a driving position, we should be able to capitalise on it and not let the opposition come in, and fight back again and again. We can take a leaf out of that,” he said.

“Nottingham we did that, for three days we were relentless and we’re on top. So we need to think about how to start a series like that as well. As a group we need to be more relentless when we start a series and be a bit more expressive and fearless at the beginning of a series.

“Especially in a long series because, as I’ve said at the start of the series, you have time to comeback, but you want to come back when you’ve played fearless cricket and you don’t want to be catching up too much.”

When asked about the batsmen’s failure in this game, and the series, as a whole, the skipper said, “It’s very difficult to recognize key moments in the first innings of a Test match. But after I got out, I myself felt that had I batted for longer that day the lead could have been bigger.”

“But even after that we thought we could get a couple of more partnerships and extend the lead if possible. Eventually Pujara had to play a blinder to get us to a lead of 30 odd. So that’s the only thing that I feel could have extended our lead a bit more in this first innings.

“Apart from that as I said as captain I don’t see many areas we need to think of as negatives because we tried our best.”

Kohli said his team never gave up and made England earn the victory. “Not many teams come close to us when we play at home. But to make the home sides earn victory against us, that’s a huge boost for us. As a group we feel that we have pushed the home side to earn victories and we haven’t thrown in the towel,” he said.

England’s Moeen Ali took nine wickets for 134 runs as India succumbed twice to his off-spin.

While Kohli praised the off-spinner, he also defended R Ashwin, who couldn’t work similar magic in this game.

“Ashwin tried his best. He pitched the ball in the right areas. He didn’t get the results he would have intended. We all try to do well. Some innings it doesn’t come off,” he said.

“On flat wickets batsmen can get out. So this was one occasion where Ashwin could himself feel he could have got more purchase out of the wicket. The batsmen played well. There could be a lot of factors when you look at that situation.

“But Moeen bowled really well. If you have to single out his performance, I think he was relentless with the areas that he bowled in and the speeds that he bowled at, so deserved to get the wickets he got eventually,” he added.

MS Dhoni Again On The Hot seat After A Big Loss In 2nd ODI Against England

After a big loss against England in 2nd ODI, everyone is questioning  Dhoni’s finishing abilities.

On a day when he crossed the 10,000-run milestone in ODIs, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was booed by the Indian supporters at the ‘Home of Cricket’ for his slow batting during the team’s 86-run defeat against England in the second game of the three-match series  for not showing initiative in his 59-ball 37 as India could only manage 236 in 50 overs after England posted 322 for seven.

While England’s Joe Root found it “surprising”, India’s Yuzvendra Chahal said that he was unaware about the booing incident.

Before the start of the 46th over, the match was as good as over with 110 required off 30 balls. However, the crowd got restless when Dhoni failed to score off the first four balls of David Willey’s over. There was booing after every dot ball, a rare occurrence considering the huge fan base Dhoni enjoys around the cricketing globe. In fact, at the end of the over, substitute fielders Shardul Thakur and Axar Patel came in with an energy drink and replacement bat, which on air commentators termed as a message to push things. Off the very first ball in the next over, Dhoni was caught at the deep mid-wicket boundary trying a wild heave.

England Test paceman Stuart Broad, commentating on Sky Sports, said of Dhoni: “Today he never really quite got going and he had no fluency to his batting — two boundaries in 59 balls, and you’re not going to win too many games doing that.”

Meanwhile former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh added: “Today was definitely a different Dhoni we got to see.

“He normally does take his time, but then once he’s in he looks for the boundary. But, today he was short of partners, though he still probably defended too many balls.”

But Kohli defended the 37-year-old Dhoni, a veteran of 320 ODIs who effectively won the 2011 World Cup final for India against Sri Lanka in Mumbai off his own bat, by saying: “This comes up again and again when he is not able to play in the normal way he does.

“It’s very unfortunate people just jump to conclusions very quickly.”

Kohli added: “When he does well, people call him the best finisher ever and when they don’t go well, they all pounce on him.

“We all have bad days in cricket and today was a bad one for everyone, not just him.

“Also, you want to take the innings deep; you don’t want to just lose by 160-170 runs, and he has the experience, but some days it just doesn’t come off.

“Other people jump to conclusions, but we don’t – we totally believe in him.”

Rahul, Kuldeep shines in India’s thumping win

Kuldeep’s  5-wicket hall and Rahul’s scintillating 101 powers India  to an 8-wicket win against England in the first T20I at Old Trafford.

After chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav had left the English batsmen in a daze with his magical spell of wrist spin, restricting them to 159 for eight, Rahul blasted his way to an unbeaten 101 .

Scoring his second T20I hundred, Rahul whacked the English bowlers all over the park hitting 10 boundaries and 5 sixes.

Despite losing his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan in the first over, Rohit Sharma (32) combined with Rahul to stitch together a partnership of 123 in quick time to put the visitors on the path to victory, which they achieved for the loss of only two wickets.

No England bowler seemed troubling the batting duo. Adil Rashid was the most successful picking 1 wicket for 25 runs. Virat Kohli also became the fastest batsman to reach 2000 runs in T20I format in the match.

Earlier, Kuldeep broke the backbone of England batting, with a career-best five for 24 in four overs, after India chose to field.This, after a solid start by the in-form openers Jos Buttler (69, 45b) and Jason Roy (30, 20b), who added 50 in the first five overs of PowerPlay.

However, from a relatively comfortable 95 for one in the 12th over, Kuldeep removed England skipper Eoin Morgan (7), Jonny Bairstow (0) and Joe Root (0) in the 14th over, stopping England from posting a competitive total. Bairstow and Root deceived by flight and failed to read the turn off the pitch, getting stumped off successive deliveries.

Kuldeep’s effort was more praiseworthy considering that leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (none for 34) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (none for 44) had an off-day.

At the end India achieved the target with 10 balls to spare.