India may be on an 18-Test unbeaten streak but skipper Virat Kohli feels it is not even a “tiny bit” of what his team aims to achieve given the foundation that has been laid.
India won their ninth Test of the year to stretch an unbeaten run to 18 and wrote a plethora of records, including notching up their biggest-ever series victory over England.
Kohli said: “As a team we have had a very good 2016 apart from two setbacks. One was the ODI series in Australia and second was World T20. We won the Asia Cup, ODI series against New Zealand in India and won all the Test series. It’s been a memorable 2016 for the team and that’s something I am really proud of.
“To be part of such a good year and such a good season, especially with the team in transition is something we can be really proud of,” added Kohli after India won the final Test against England by an innings and 75 runs to bag the five-match series 4-0.
“But this is just the foundation that’s been laid for us to carry on for lot many years. It’s just the beginning. It’s nothing that we want to achieve, it’s not even a tiny bit of that. We understand where we want to go and hopefully the guys can keep putting this kind of effort and take the team where it belongs,” he added.
Asked if this team could be called Virat’s Team India, the captain said: “I can’t say that. How can I say that?”
Summing up the team’s performance in the five-match series, Kohli said his side ticked most of the boxes.
“I would say it’s a complete performance. From the time we were put under pressure in the first game to coming back and winning the next four Tests. We lost four tosses, including Rajkot but won three games out of that is very satisfying. As a captain, I feel it’s a complete series for us. Everyone contributed at different times, especially the lower-order’s contribution is something that stands out for me in this series.”
Kohli said that the quality of cricket, facilities and infrastructure must improve.
“The facilities should improve. Cricketers become professional. Their mindset becomes good. If you see, whoever comes into the team he knows there is a certain benchmark for fitness in the team. Of performance. Of mindset. We want players to be match ready when they join the Indian team. You shouldn’t be spending a year in international cricket just learning what to do now. You lose a lot of time in that.
“Many players can’t face that pressure. But if you are prepared, if you are professional, if you know you have to work hard, if you know how to prepare for a game, you have a better chance of performing,” he said.
Citing examples of KL Rahul and Karun Nair, Kohli said, “You can see their performance for yourself, especially Karun. Replacing a batsman like Ajinkya Rahane, who has been performing consistently in the last two years in Test cricket. To walk in and score a triple hundred. There couldn’t have been a bigger statement.
“It shows that the next generation will keep getting smarter looking at others, learning how it is done. What we need to do when we reach the Indian team. It is just evolution. It is sometimes surprising looking at these youngsters, how quickly they pick things up. They are very smart and it shows on the field in how they play.”