Virat Kohli is challenging his Indian teammates to show their true character and step out of his immense shadow.
A deflated and defeated Kohli struggled to make sense of India’s capitulation to Australia in the first Test in Adelaide.
Kohli will return home for the birth of his first child after India were bowled out for 36 in their second innings – their lowest-ever Test innings.
“It’s very hard to find words to express how everyone is feeling in the changerooms … it really hurts,” Kohli said.
“The ball didn’t do much … everything just happened so quickly that no-one could make any sense of it.
“We lacked intent. The way we batted allowed them to look more potent than they probably were.”
Kohli’s departure leaves a gaping hole in an India side which could make at least three changes for Melbourne’s Boxing Day Test.
Paceman Mohammed Shami was sent for scans on his left arm amid fears of a broken bone when struck by a Pat Cummins delivery.
Shami retired hurt amid the horrendous batting crash – no Indian reached double-figures, just the second time in Test history that has happened in a completed innings.
And opening bat Prithvi Shaw faces the axe after being bowled twice in near-identical fashion when making a duck and four in Adelaide.
Spare pacemen Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj will vye to replace Shami while batsmen KL Rahul and Shubman Gill are in the frame for top-six slots.
Kohli warned about over-reacting to the Adelaide disaster but implored his teammates to show spirit in his absence.
“A few of the guys are going to realise their true characters and how they can step up for the team,” he said.
“So I am very, very confident that we will definitely learn from this.
“I don’t think we have had a worse batting performance so we can only go upwards from here and understand as a team we can do special things when we think of partnerships and batting together.
“So I am very, very confident that we will bounce back strongly in the next one.
“And I have no doubts at all of that and you will see guys stepping up and really realising their true character.”