Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper said India won’t make the mistake of focusing on the World Test Championship (WTC) final which cost them the series in New Zealand in February 2020, and would instead try to win the Test matches against England.
Virat Kohli who returned to lead the national side after the paternity leave which saw him miss 3 Tests in Australia, said he was impressed by Indian youngsters and newcomers like Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini performing well in Australia.
Virat Kohli: No Point In Talking About WTC Final Which Is Months Away
He said that the team’s strategy of going for the win overseas and keep draw as only the last option is what helped them do well and help India win the last Test in Brisbane.
“In New Zealand, we did discuss it (WTC final) a bit and that could have added extra pressure on us to do everything so precisely.
“We ended up being under pressure a little bit. But from Australia onwards, it was all about following a good process, preparing well, going out there and just understanding the situation and making sure we play according to the situation,” said Virat Kohli while speaking to the media on the eve of the first Test against England beginning Friday at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
“In this Australia series, we didn’t speak of winning because of WTC. I think it is a by-product of your team doing well anyway. There’s no point adding extra pressure. For us it remains a game of cricket, one session at a time. One hour at a time. That is how success is achieved in the longest format of the game. So no point thinking about something that is still months. It is important to stay in the present and take one day at a time and move forward,” Virat Kohli added.
Hosts India and visitors England will meet for the opening game of the four-match Test series from Friday (5th February) at MA Chidambaram Stadium (Chepauk, Chennai). The Test series will ultimately decide the second finalist for inaugural World Test Championship as New Zealand have already secured their place for the final. Joe Root is playing his 100th Test at Chennai. He is coming after a brilliant series in Sri Lanka where he was leading run-getter with 426 runs averaging 106.5 in 2 Tests.
Virat Kohli: Youngsters Coming And Performing Is A Special Win For India In Australia Series
Axar Patel was ruled out of the opening Test with a knee injury as India picked standby backup spinner Shahbaz Nadeem as Kuldeep Yadav didn’t again get a chance in XI despite being in the squad. England are batting first after winning the toss. Ishant Sharma is playing alongside Jasprit Bumrah who is playing his first Test at home while Ravichandran Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar are the trio of spinners.
“We had decided back in 2014 when I took over as captain that whenever I get a chance I will go for the win and draw will be our last option when we don’t have a chance to win. We have persisted with this. In every match we think of how and where we can win from. Making a plan is one thing but persisting with it requires everyone’s contribution,” said Virat Kohli, adding that the youngsters followed it and that is the reason they performed.
“What happened in Australia recently — youngsters coming and performing is a special win for us. Because we did not have that much experience and the impactful performances they came up with, that can happen only with mindset — they thought that they will go, play and go for the win. Regardless of who we are playing against, the difference in experience, all that goes out of picture and your focus stays on winning.”
“If we see our overseas tours, England or South Africa except New Zealand, we realized that we lost the match in 40-45 minutes. It was not that we were dominated in the Test when we played away from home. When we saw that result in the last Australia series, our belief got stronger that we were on the right path and we knew that we were going on the right way,” the 32-year-old Virat Kohli added.
For England, as Zak Crawley was ruled out of first 2 Tests, Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley are openers while Ollie Pope makes a return. Both spinners Dominic Bess and Jack Leach are playing while Jofra Archer and James Anderson are pacers. England are 66/2 with Rory Burns and Daniel Lawrence back in the pavilion.