Adelaide, Jan 26: Young Indian batsman Virat Kohli has said it is not fair to criticise the seniors in the team for not performing in last few Tests. Kohli has come to the defence of the out of form veterans and has called for more respect to be shown to the stalwarts who have been doing so well in the past 15 to 20 years.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday at the Adelaide Oval, where he scored 116 in India's total of 272, he said: "As for seniors, it's cricket. It happens. Sometimes four score centuries and sometimes only one does it. It's the first time, they have come to Australia and not performed.
"I don't know why people are forgetting the past 15-20 years when they have really done well in Australia against Australia. Why people are forgetting it. We are not panicking. I don't know why people are."
Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag have had a quiet series and they are yet to register a century between them.
There has been a suggestion in media that Indian players don't take criticism very well. Kohli said it was because of the lack of balance in reaction by the media.
"If you don't want players to behave in an absurd manner, the criticism and praise should be at a certain level. You can't crush the legends of the game in 5-6 Tests. What about the 180 Tests, 150 Tests they played before it. It's not as if you treat them as king and then pull them down. It's not fair to players."
Kohli had praise for stumper Wriddhiman Saha who kept well and batted with grit and determination.
"He's a very positive guy, very competitive. For someone to come and play after only one Test, he kept very well. He was mentally tough, he knew what he wanted to do. I didn't have to tell him anything. He's going to be a special player for India."
Kohli didn't want to speculate if he would be promoted to number three in the second innings.
"I was getting dropped after Sydney. After Perth, they were asking me to bat at number three. As I said, I am not concentrating on what's being said or written. Whatever team wants me to do, I will do it.
"In one-day cricket, I have batted at number 3, 4, 5 and even 6. As long as I am picked to play, I am willing to play anywhere."
Instead of worrying about losing the Test, Kohli was hopeful his team could turn around its fortunes on the last two days.
"If we can get 2-3 wickets early, the last time also Australia scored 400 runs on the first day and we chased down the target in the fourth.
"The ball is turning square now. With Ashwin bowling so well, you never know."
Kohli said that he was yet to become an established Test player.
"It's still a learning curve for me. I wouldn't say I am established in Test cricket, I am learning in every game, if I can learn and perform as well, I would be a better cricketer.
"I definitely wanted to be a successful Test cricketer for India. Hopefully this is the start for me, hopefully I could be consistent going ahead in Test cricket."
Now that he has succeeded, there is likely to be a clamour for including more and more youngsters in the team, and perhaps the time for seniors to reflect.
"They (the youngsters) are all waiting for their opportunity. They are all talented and skillful as any youngster who gets a chance in the team.
"Putting too much pressure on somebody initially isn't fair on the guy. You need to let a guy blend into a certain format. Some have a great start and some take time. You got to have some patience with someone who comes in.
"All the players who blew their chances, they are good enough. The day they are mentally tougher, I am sure they would be really consistent in Test cricket."