T20 World Cup: Kohli accuses India of lacking courage

By Sports Desk October 31, 2021

Virat Kohli accused his India team-mates of a lack of courage after defeat to New Zealand left them on the brink of elimination from the T20 World Cup.

India went down by eight wickets against the Black Caps on Sunday as they produced another meek display following the 10-wicket thrashing by Pakistan in their opening game.

The pre-tournament favourites posted a modest 110-7 from their 20 overs and the Kiwis knocked it off with 33 balls to spare at the Dubai International Stadium.

Kohli's side now need to beat Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia, and hope results elsewhere go their way to become one of the two teams in their group to progress to the semi-finals.

"I don't think we were brave enough with bat or ball," India captain Kohli said in the post-match presentation.

"With the ball, I mean, obviously we didn't have much to play with, but we were just not brave enough with our body language when we entered the field. 

"New Zealand had better intensity, better body language, and they created pressure on us from the first over onwards, really, and continued that through the innings.

"Every time we felt like we wanted to take a chance [while batting], we lost a wicket. That happens in T20 cricket, but that's most probably or most often the result of that little bit of hesitation with the bat, when you feel like should you go for the shot or not."

New Zealand recorded a third straight victory over India at T20 World Cups, having previously prevailed when they met in 2007 and 2016, as the Men in Blue lost successive T20Is outside India for the first time.

Kohli claimed India's players have been affected by the burden of expectation on them from millions of fans back home and failed to cope with the pressure that brings.

"When you play for the Indian cricket team, you obviously have a lot of expectations, everyone knows that – not only from the fans but from the players themselves," he explained.

"Wherever we play, we are watched, people come to the stadiums to support us, so there's always going to be more with our games, that's always been the case. 

"We've embraced it over the years, and everyone who plays for the Indian team obviously has to embrace that as well, and learn how to cope with it.

"And when you cope with that as a team, you tend to overcome that pressure and those tough situations. And we haven't, in these two games, and that's why we haven't won.

"There's only one way to play T20 cricket – you have to be optimistic, you have to be positive, take calculated risks, and that's what this format is all about.

"Just because you're the Indian cricket team and there's expectations, doesn't mean that you start playing the format differently."

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