Virat Kohli on Wednesday said India and New Zealand “are on equal terms” as far as the conditions in Southampton for the World Test Championship (WTC) last are concerned. The teams will play the last from June 18 at the Hampshire Bowl and India will depart for their tour of the United Kingdom, which also includes a five-Test series against England starting on August 4, on Wednesday. “The conditions (in England) are as potent for us as New Zealand… We’re going to board the flight thinking that we’re on equal terms and whichever team performs mannered session-by-session, hour-by-hour, is going to win that championship,” said Kohli at a pre-departure virtual press convention.
New Zealand are already in England, playing a two-Test series against the hosts that began with the first Test at Lord’s on Wednesday. They’re scheduled to finish their second Test at Edgbaston on June 14, a mere four days ahead of the WTC last.
Alternatively, Kohli said New Zealand did not hold an virtue over the Indians even after having had recent game time in England just before the last.
“It is not the first time we are playing in England. (With) the starvation and desire to be there… We don’t have any problems with having just four practice sessions going into the last,” said Kohli.
India cricketers Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma have termed the WTC last as an equivalent of a World Cup last and both Kohli and India coach Ravi Shastri agreed that the stakes could not have been higher.
“For all of us this is like an accumulation of all of the tough work of the final five-six years,” Kohli said.
The magnitude of the last aside, the teams will be moving from one bio-secure bubble to another and Kohli spoke at length approximately the affect ‘bubble cricket’ has had on the mental health of players.
“With the current constitution (moving from one bio-bubble to another), it’s very difficult for players to stay motivated,” said Kohli.
“… to be confined in one area (will be difficult).
“The mental health (of players) will come into the picture. There’s no space where you’ll disconnect with the game.”
The WTC last will be followed by the series against England, who had beaten India 4-1 on the final tour in 2018. With India winning Test series in Australia on two consecutive absent tours, could England be a last frontier?
Not somewhat, said Kohli. “(England series) isn’t a last frontier for us. We wish to remain on top for years yet to come. We have worked tough for the last, for us it’s just approximately keeping the usual high,” he said.
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