India's captain Virat Kohli believes India have the character and skill to win difficult tours; they just need the experience to close out tough situations with fearless and smart cricket. He said the scoreline of 4-1 to England didn't show how competitive the series was, and that both the teams and those who understand cricket know it.
"Definitely there will be things we will sit down and think about that could be taken as opportunities," Kohli said in the post-match presentation at The Oval. "I know we have missed quite a few. But we have no regrets in terms of the way we have played. Obviously when both teams are going for wins, you are going to have results that look like that. England play fearless as well. We decide to play fearless as well. You will hardly have draws in this kind of series.
"That's exactly what the scoreline shows. Not saying it is not a fair scoreline. They played better cricket than us, they deserve to win. But it does not mean that we have been outplayed every game. Barring Lord's. We have been competitive in every game. People watching and people understanding the game know that. We can take a lot of heart from that but at the same time we need to learn from things we didn't do right and apply them the next time we step on the field."
The biggest lesson for India, Kohli said, was the way rookie allrounder Sam Curran played. India voted for him as England's Man of the Series.
"There is a reason why we voted for Sam as the Man of the Series," Kohli said. "Coming in at that stage in the batting order, and with the ball as well, he has made very important contributions. If you look at the significance of the matches, the first one was massive, and after 2-1, the fourth one was massive. He made plays in both those games. It takes character for someone to come in and play like that. He put England in front in both those matches. We can learn from that. Guys coming in, being fearless, taking on the situation head on but being smart about that. That is something we need to learn and apply."
Kohli was also full of praise for KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, who stretched England on the fifth day at The Oval, with fourth-innings centuries in the face of an improbable target. "A lot of credit has to go to both those young guys," Kohli said. "Stepping up at such a difficult stage. Three wickets down for two runs. Jinks [Rahane] got stuck in with KL but I think the way KL and Rishabh batted showed the character we have in the team.
"The kind of cricket we played in the series, it might not show in the scoreline, but both the sides know that it has been a competitive series, it has taken a lot out of both the sides.
"We have taken the challenge head on. Today was an example of two guys not giving up and actually entertaining the crowd. This is probably the revival of Test cricket and shows what it means to us. It is a great advertisement for Test cricket."