Indian captain Virat Kohli said his team’s Champions Trophy demolition of South Africa on Thursday was fuelled by his refusal to spare his players from criticism in the dressing room. The Men in Blue smashed the Proteas by eight wickets at The Oval in their final Group B fixture to set up a likely semi-final showdown with Bangladesh on Thursday.
India needed to win to avoid elimination after slumping to a shock loss against Sri Lanka, a spluttering performance that incited Kohli to tell his team where they were going wrong.
Rather than sugar-coat his comments to save his players’ pride, the India captain made it clear they needed to improve and he was delighted with how they responded in the make or break clash on Sunday.
“You have to be honest. You need to at times say things that hurt. That is what I believe in,” he said.
“You need to lay it out in front of them that this is what we did wrong, including me, and we have to take it on the chin and accept it and prove it.
“That is the reason we are picked among a large number of individuals to play at this level. You must be good enough to do that for the nation and you must be good enough to bounce back, also.
“You can’t do the same mistakes over and over again. That kind of mindset is truly helping all of us to meet up as a unit and make things happen.
“It’s not about asking two, three players to do it. We are requesting everybody do it and everybody is reacting truly well.
With India and Bangladesh joining has England in the last four and the winner of Monday’s Sri Lanka against Pakistan match taking the final semi-final berth, it’s been a strong tournament for the teams from the sub continent.
Kohli acknowledged the amount of one-day cricket played in the region was a component, but he has additionally been impressed with the way India have adapted to the English conditions.
“Maybe because of how much limited-overs cricket we play, I think the players are getting more experienced in difficult situations,” he said.
“Perhaps some of the teams have truly surprised the opposition with the way they have batted and bowled in certain situations.”