Known to back his players to the hilt, India captain Virat Kohli was once again at his animated best during the second T20I against West Indies in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. Some ordinary fielding efforts and sloppy catching cost India the second match of the series as West Indies won by eight wickets to level the series 1-1.
Rubbing salt on the wounds was Kerala crowd’s reaction as the Men in Blue kept making mistakes in the field while defending 171. The turning point of the match came in the fifth over of West Indies innings when Washington Sundar, at mid-off, and Rishabh Pant, behind the stumps, dropped catches off successive deliveries from Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
As soon as Pant left the catch, the reaction from fans was no surprise as they started chanting the name of former skipper MS Dhoni and local boy Sanju Samson.
Stationed near the boundary line, the 31-year-old Kohli immediately took note of fans behaviour and expressed his displeasure over the reaction. He turned to the crowd and made a strong gesture of cheering for Pant as he is representing India.
Last week during a media interaction, the Indian skipper had asserted that the youngster can’t be isolated to such an extent that he starts feeling nervous on the field.
“If you look at all the mistakes he has made and the position he is in, with the team and Virat backing him and with MS out at the moment, he does have a long way to go.
“He will be looked upon on his performance and he is 21 (22), so will he be able to buy the time to be an absolute superstar in Indian cricket is what we need to see, and I think he actually can,” Kohli said.
In the second T20I, the Indian bowlers were taken to the cleaners by Lendl Simmons (67 not out off 45 balls), Evin Lewis (40 off 35 balls) and Nicholas Pooran (38 not out off 18 balls).
The third and final T20I between India and West Indies will be played on Wednesday (December 11).