This leads to an explanation of what an ICC mixed media zone is. After the official press conference, the teams make available two players each who separate to speak alternately with the written and visual media for about three minutes or so. Once they are done, they switch to the other media. Not much comes out for the short time and so many reporters, but it is a more relaxed session.
It was to be expected after the kind of match India had won against Pakistan, but he said something in the interaction with the print media that pricked up my ears. In the midst of what sounded like self-help gibberish – and I don’t deny that he doesn’t believe in it or it doesn’t help – he said that he had rid himself of the fear of failure.
I was like, “Really? What if you had lost today?
“I said it,” Hardik said. “Even with three balls left, I told the guys, ‘Even if we lose the game, that’s fine.’ I said that I am proud of the way we have fought in the game. We have been a team that has worked very hard individually, together, collectively. So even if we had lost the game, I still would have had a smile on my face and said we gave it our all, and they were just good that day.
“At some point I have accepted the fact that this sport will give me ups and downs. The more ups and downs I have, the better, but even the downs I will appreciate because failure teaches you many things.”
Throughout the partnership, especially when the initial interest rate began to spiral out of control, Kohli said Hardik kept repeating, “Believe. Believe.” Hardik was asked to elaborate.
“This quote is about believing in yourself and your ability,” Hardik said. “There are so many distractions: the opposition, the pressure, the fear of failure, everything. If we don’t believe in ourselves, I don’t think what we did would have been possible.
“For me it was very important that even if we are struggling, it is fine. We have to believe that we are going to hit the next ball. That’s the only thing I said to Virat: we’re going to do it no matter how ugly we look. It’s okay. But we will, and I think that continued. That is the reason why we were able to build a partnership even when we were struggling. We don’t think it was a smooth entry, but it was very important for us to fight and get the result we were looking for.”