Rohit Sharma on Sunday insisted that Virat Kohli would continue to be backed by the team despite the former skipper’s lean patch.
Kohli hasn’t been among big runs for nearly three years now and his position in the playing XI has been questioned by several experts, including the former India captain Kapil Dev, who feels that Indian team management will be doing a disservice if in-form players aren’t given enough opportunities to showcase their skills.
It was another failure for Virat Kohli (11) in India’s 17-run loss in the third T20 International match against England.
However, India captain Rohit Sharma on Sunday not only defended Kohli’s form but also take a dig on former cricketers, who are questioning the place of Kohli in the playing XI.
“We don’t listen much to the outside noise. I don’t know who these experts are. I don’t understand why they are called experts. They are watching the game from outside, they don’t know what is going on inside in the dressing room,” Rohit told reporters on Sunday.
“There’s always a thought process behind picking up a team. We try to back our players, the people watching the game from outside don’t know about it,” he added.
Former India bowler Venkatesh Prasad has also made a scathing attack on Team India’s continuous backing of Virat Kohli.
“There was a time when you were out of form, you would be dropped irrespective of reputation. Sourav, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Zaheer, Bhajji all have been dropped when not in form. They have went back to domestic cricket, scored runs and staged a comeback. The yardsticks seem to have,” Prasad wrote on Twitter.
“Changed drastically now, where there is rest for being out of form. This is no way for progress. There is so much talent in the country and cannot play on reputation. One of India’s greatest match-winner, Anil Kumble sat out on so many ocassions, need action’s for the larger good,” he added.
Australia batsman Usman Khawaja, however, appeared to take a dig at Kapil Dev’s criticism of Kohli, saying, ” Averages 50 at almost 140. Good call. Australia Agrees.” This comment was followed by two laughter emojis .
This is not the first time the word ‘Outside Noise’ popped up in the press conference, with an Indian captain taking the questions from media persons.
It all started with MS Dhoni, who following India’s 2013 Champions Trophy win in England said: “I am not here to prove anyone how good I am.”
Dhoni used similar lines on numerous occasions to shut down his critics. So did his successor Virat Kohli and now the present Team India captain Rohit Sharma, too is using the same phrase.
Earlier this year, ahead of the third and final Test against South Africa, Kohli, while attending the pre-match conference, said that he is not much concerned about numbers and he doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone.
“The reality of the situation is that you eventually want to make impact performances for the team, and my best effort is always to do that, and I truly believe that I don’t need to prove anything to anyone,” Kohli had said.
In December 2021, Kohli defended Ajinkya Rahane and said that India would not be affected by “outside noise” on Rahane’s poor showing.
“As a team, we don’t entertain that because we can’t expect this balance outside, where those who sing paeans about someone suddenly want that particular individual to be out.
“We don’t react to such views as we know the amount of hard work that’s required to reach at this level and to be at such a positive mental space. So we’ll keep supporting the player concerned, whether it’s Ajinkya or anyone else,” Kohli had said then.
The ‘Outside Noise’ phrase did catch up well among the other Indian cricketers.
Top-order batter, KL Rahul has come up with his peculiar celebration, closing his eyes and blocking his ears.
“It (the celebration) is just to shut out the noise, not to disrespect anyone. There are people out there who try to pull you down, at times you need to neglect them. So that’s just a message to shut out that noise,” Rahul had said in one of the press conference.
Cheteshwar Pujara in the South Africa Test series too had used the phrase ‘Outside Noise,’ after he was asked about his, Rahane’s form lean patch.
“Well, the team management has been always supportive, so I would say it’s just the outside noise. The coaching staff, the captain, everyone is behind all the players, and we have been working hard,” Pujara said on Day 3 of the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg. Rahane and Pujara had forged a 111-run stand for the third wicket.
India’s premier spinner Ravichandra Ashwin, during the Kanpur Test against New Zealand, had said that he has lived through expectations for a while now and has gotten better at shutting out the ‘Outside Noise.’
“I cannot cliched things. I have lived through expectations for a while now. For me, cricket is the purpose of my life. I am at that stage where I am shutting the outside noise better than I have ever done,” Ashwin had said.