Kapil Dev takes Kohli to task for ‘weak statement’ after NZ defeat

Shastri, Coach (Left) and Kohli, Captain (Right)

The 1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev has called Virat Kohli’s words after India’s eight-wicket loss to New Zealand in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup as ‘a very weak statement’. Speaking to the host broadcaster during the post-match presentation ceremony, Kohli had said, “To be very honest and brutal upfront, I don’t think we were brave enough with bat or ball.”

This statement hasn’t gone down well with former India skipper Kapil Dev.

“Obviously, for a big player like him, it is a very weak statement. We all know and we believe that he has the hunger and desire to win games for the team. If that is the kind of body language the team has and if that is the kind of thought process the captain has, it is really tough to lift the team’s mood in the dressing room. I felt a little strange hearing those words. He isn’t that kind of a player,” Kapil Dev said on ABP News.

“He is a fighter. I think he got lost in the moment or something. A captain should not say words like ‘we were not brave enough. You are playing for your country and he has the passion. But when you say such words, fingers will definitely be pointed,” added Dev.

Dev called out head coach Ravi Shastri and mentor MS Dhoni to lift the Indian team’s morale after two losses in the ongoing mega event, meaning that India is on the brink of missing the semi-finals. “I would urge my friend Shastri and Dhoni to lift the team in this scenario. It is Dhoni’s job to talk to the players and give them confidence.”

Talking about India’s awful performance against New Zealand, Dev was extremely unhappy with how Kohli & Co. fared. “I don’t have words. How much can we even criticise? A team that claims to have played the IPL and gained practice, when it plays like this, there will be criticism. When you win, no amount of praise is enough, but right now, no amount of criticism is enough because they did not play the kind of cricket expected of them. You fight and lose, we understand. But today there was not a single performance which we can be happy about.”

The 62-year-old concluded by saying ‘hat he wasn’t happy about the fac’ that India’s chances of going into the semi-finals rest on the results of other matches. “If we have to go through based on somebody else’s performance then I don’t like it. If you have to be in the semis, do it on your own merit. I don’t think it is a good idea to place your hopes on anyone else.”

India’s next match in the tournament is against Afghanistan on November 3 in Abu Dhabi.

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