Virat Kohli lamented India’s average fielding after the team suffered a 66-run loss to Australia in the series opener at Sydney on Friday 27th November while chasing a mammoth 375 to win.
Both of Australia’s mainstay batsmen Steve Smith and Aaron Finch went on to hit centuries. Aaron Finch scored 114 while Steve Smith hit a quickfire 105 off only 66 balls.
Virat Kohli Explains Reason Behind India’s Fielding Lapses
India were rusty on the field, although there weren’t too many dropped catches to speak of, but the little error in judgments highlighted that the team was playing international cricket after nine months.
In the 37th over, India had the chance to send back batsman Steve Smith to the pavilion, but Shikhar Dhawan misjudged at long-on and ran too far in. Three overs later, spinner Yuzvendra Chahal nearly pulled off a stunning catch to dismiss Aaron Finch, but couldn’t hold on to the ball at short fine leg.
Later, in the 43rd over, Hardik Pandya got a hand to a bullet hit from Glenn Maxwell and helped parry it over the ropes and in the next over, a diving Shreyas Iyer couldn’t quite reach the ball on time as it beat him to the boundary. Besides, there was a misfield by Mayank Agarwal that resulted in a boundary.
After the match, Indian skipper Virat Kohli explained what could have been the reason behind India’s sloppy fielding as he felt the team didn’t get enough time to prepare for a 50 over ODI as they were playing T20 cricket only in IPL.
“Got enough time to prepare. Don’t think there can be any excuses,” he said.
“Probably the first long game we’ve played in a while, been playing T20 cricket. Probably that’s something that can have an effect. Body language wasn’t great after around 25 overs. If you don’t take your chances against a top-quality opposition, they’ll make you pay.”
Australia opted to bat first as apart from Steve Smith and Aaron Finch scoring centuries, opener David Warner scored 69 and Glenn Maxwell scored 45 off 19 balls.
Virat Kohli: Hardik Pandya Isn’t Fit Enough To Bowl And India Don’t Have Other All- Round Options
Besides fielding, Indian bowlers too had an off day with the ball as Australia hammered them to score 374/6 on the board, their highest ODI total against India. Apart from pacer Mohammed Shami who returned with 3/59, the others were taken to the cleaners. Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal had an off-day conceding more than 8 runs per over. The lack of a sixth bowler was evidently visible with Hardik Pandya still unable to bowl due to the risk it exposes his back to.
“Unfortunately, Hardik is not fit enough to bowl, and we don’t have other all-round options to pick from either, someone like Stoinis or Maxwell,” Kohli pointed out.
“From the batting point of view, we had a chat briefly now. All the batsmen committed to it which is why you saw us playing with intent. I think we gave ourselves the best chance. Hardik’s innings was the best example of that. As a batting unit we committed nicely to positive cricket and we are going to do that in the future as well.”
India though showed spark in batting with Hardik Pandya and Shikhar Dhawan playing impactful knocks of 90 and 74 respectively but managed only 308/8 in reply. Virat Kohli scored 21 as the likes of him, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer failed to score 25 or more.