Sydney: He "hates" defeats but Indian captain Virat Kohli on Saturday said that he was not too disappointed by the Test series loss to Australia as his team put up a tough fight, displaying "intent and character" all through.
The Indians lost 0-2 after drawing the last two matches and Kohli, who was personally in sublime form (scoring 692 runs), said the visiting side considers it a satisfying result.
"The series could have gone either way. Even today we thought we had a chance (to win), but Australia kept coming back. We have given a tough fight to the Australians in the entire series. We had a fantastic series," Kohli said after the final day's play of the drawn fourth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.
"From the very first day, we had wanted to play hard cricket, give a fight, and that is what the boys have done. I think we showed a mix of intent and patience. Eventually, it was a satisfying result but crossing the line would have been better," he added.
Chasing a target of 349 on Saturday, Kohli said he was not sure about going for the target till the tea break but eventually decided that the team should give it a chase after his own dismissal.
"At tea time, I was not 100 per cent sure if we wanted to go for the target. After he got out, I thought why not take a chance, we are not coming back here for a while, if it does not happen it does not. The intent and character the side is showing is important," the 26-year-old Indian captain said.
"These guys have stepped up and shown they have the character and game at the international level," he added.
Kohli, who scored four hundreds and one fifty in the series, said that there were lot of positives for his side even though it needs to have more consistency with both the bat and ball.
"There are lot of positives to take but in patches. We need to be consistent with both the bat and ball. We need to be more consistent in bowling. I have told bowlers what they need to focus on because we need to know where we lack.
"It is exciting time for Indian cricket ahead. (Lokesh) Rahul was impressive especially after the kind of debut he had. It is tough in Australia, I have experienced that before.
"(Murali) Vijay has done a great job at the top of order and the same goes for (Ajinkya) Rahane," said Kohli.
Giving credit to the Australians for recovering from the trauma of Philip Hughes' death in a freak incident and winning the series, Kohli said, "The way they have composed themselves after the (Phillip Hughes) incident and come out is commendable."
There were a few on-field run-ins between the players of the two sides in the series and Kohli said that the opposition team should respect his side.
"I hate losing and that's the bottomline. We have to be competitive. The opposition should respect us. They should not think of us as a bunch of youngsters who can be steamrolled," said the feisty batsman.
Kohli said the Indian side can win the cricket World which begins next month in Australia and New Zealand and the experience of the Test series and the upcoming tri-series would come handy.
"Absolutely, we can win the World Cup. We have that belief. We have played good cricket in Australia and this experience will do a lot of good in the World Cup," he said.
His bowlers struggled in the series, failing to take enough Australian wickets and leaking runs also, and Kohli said they can learn from the Australians in this department.
"We need to focus on our strengths. We need to identify guys who can step up and stop the runs. Australian bowlers, even if they are playing their initial games, know how to set up the batsman and get him out, so this is something we need to learn from the opposition," he said.
On his own outstanding batting in the series, Kohli said, "There were few things which I needed to improve after England, I did that. I tried to be a step ahead of the bowlers. Getting a few knocks in the winning cause would have been sweeter but I am satisfied with my performance."
Australian captain Steven Smith also said it was a tough series and gave credit to India for drawing the final Test.
"We could not quite get there today, but really proud of the boys. It's a very good series win, that is the most important thing for us," said Smith, who was named Man of the Match as well as Man of the Series for scoring 769 runs in four matches with four hundreds and two fifties.
"Tough day in the office for us. We did not get the variable bounce we were expecting on a day five pitch. There were a couple of chances that did not come off the glove and things like that. Credit to India for the way they played today to draw the match," said the 25-year-old batsman.
Asked about his personal form in the series, he said, "Really enjoyed this series, some pretty flat wickets and I have enjoyed batting, to make four hundreds in a series is very satisfying. I have really enjoyed captaining these guys, they played their hearts out today."
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