India captain Virat Kohli said the team will continue to back KL Rahul and try to provide an environment where he can be in a good mental space even as there is so much chatter around his form after poor returns in the T20I series against England.
Virat Kohli quotes a popular Hindi song “Kuch toh log kahenge” from Bollywood movie, Amar Prem, featuring Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore while backing the India opener who lost his spot in the T20I series finale on Saturday.
KL Rahul struggled to get going in the T20I series, managing scores of 1, 0, 0 and 14 before he was dropped in their 5th T20I. Virat Kohli pushed himself to the top of the order as he opened with Rohit Sharma and allowed Suryakumar Yadav to continue batting at No. 3.
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KL Rahul had lost his place in the Test squad and it remains to be seen if he will get the nod in the ODI series. Rahul was one of the most consistent performers for India in the middle order in the 50-over format, having scored at an average of over 47 and 55 over the last 2 years. However, his poor run in T20Is and the abundance of options for India in the limited-overs set-up has put his spot in the side in focus.
India begin a 3-match ODI series against England from March 23 and Virat Kohli said the team management knows how to handle players when they are going through a difficult phase.
“Kuch toh log kahenge logo ka kaam hai kehna, chhodo bekar ki baato me kahi beet na jae rehna (People will say something because it’s their job, let’s not pay heed to useless things and stop living our lives),” Kohli said on the eve of the ODI series.
“There’s a lot of impatience outside the cricket setup, and everyone has a point of view. Some people form an opinion on what the player is thinking, and that becomes a judgment.
“When a player is down, some people enjoy having their fun at his expense and further pulling him down.
“As part of team management, we know how to manage this. Personally, the player suffers from a bit of a difficult phase. It’s not like he forgets how to play. It becomes a question of mental clarity, which takes a bit of a toll.”
‘We will continue to back our players, keep them in good mental space’
Kohli went on and added that he has never paid heed to unfair criticism throughout his career and that is how the team management will deal with outside noise.
“All these outside talks are rubbish. From the start of my career till date, all these talks outside have remained rubbish for me.
“Why does one say something? What agenda does the person have? For what a premise is being set?
“We don’t even let these thoughts enter the team, and even in the future, we will continue to do so. At the same time, we will continue to back our players and try and provide a good mental space for them.”
India and England will meet in the ODI series opener at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Tuesday.