On the day of ICC World Twenty20, 2016 groups and schedule launch in Mumbai India’s star batsman Virat Kohli said that the richest cricket league in the world Indian Premier League (IPL) has snatched away the home advantage from India. Many foreign players ply their trade in IPL each year, so when India will host the World T20 starting from March 8, 2016, they will not enjoy the home advantage.
“So many players all around the world have played in the IPL for 8-9 years now, so they are pretty familiar with the Indian conditions,” said Kohli during a panel discussion after the launch of the ICC tournament and release of its schedule here.
“We saw the players executing their skills in shorter format that we played against South Africa just now, so they (foreign players) know where to bowl and which shots to hit in Indian conditions,” he said.
Kohli was responding to a query about the teams which he thought were dangerous in the tournament by cricketer turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar during the discussion after the formal launch of the marquee tournament which will be held across eight venues in the country.
India will start their campaign in the tournament on March 15 at Jamtha, Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground (VCAG) Nagpur against New Zealand.
“It’s not such a big home advantage anymore and especially with formats like T20 where the cricket is so quick. So any team could be a favourite. Obviously, we (India) would like to cross the finishing line this time. The last time I was personally very sad… as we could not cross the line.”
The 27-year-old Delhi batsman was referring to the previous edition of World T20 in Bangladesh when India lost to Sri Lanka by six wickets in the grand finale.
Kohli said he believes in simplicity as other countries are familiar with Indian conditions.
“In a country like India where conditions are known to everyone now, keeping things simple will be very important, so any team can be dangerous if they don’t try too much,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kohli’s teammate Rahane said, each and every team should be considered as dangerous in the T20 format while left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan felt the team which team would shift their gear at the right of the tournament would enjoy the advantage.
“Deep down inside we have a better chance and, of course, we will do well, but as everyone said every team is equally dangerous because all players have played in the IPL, so everyone knows the conditions. So we respect each and every opposition,” said Rahane.
“The team which is going to get the momentum at the right time, that’s going to be a dangerous team. In T20 especially, momentum is a very big thing,” said Dhawan.
When asked about Pakistan, whose players have not been allowed in IPL in 2008, Rahane said playing conditions of India and Pakistan are same they will not have much difficulty to play in India. India will take on Pakistan on Saturday, March 19 at picturesque Dharamsala Stadium.