WTC Final: Lack of Test match practice in England no worry, says confident Virat Kohli


Team India skipper Virat Kohli said on Tuesday (June 2) that his team will take the field in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand in the right frame of mind and will not be bothered by the lack of Test match practice, which their opponents will get in the two-Test series against England. He also shot down suggestions that the conditions will favour Kiwis.

The World WTC final between India and New Zealand will is scheduled to take place in Southampton, starting 18 June.

“In the past, we have landed in places three days prior in proper schedule and have had a hell of a series. It is all in the head. It is not the first time we are playing in England. We all know what the conditions are like. We don’t have any issues with even four practice sessions heading into the game,” Kohli said at a press conference on the eve of the team’s departure for England.

Asked if the conditions will benefit New Zealand, where there is swing and seam, and where India lost a Test series 0-2 in 2020, Kohli said the squad is boarding the flight knowing it is on equal terms with the Kiwis.

“Conditions are as potent for New Zealand as they are for us. Australian conditions should have favoured Australia but we beat them twice in two series. It is how you look at the situation,” he said.

“If you want us to board the flight from here feeling that New Zealand have the edge then there is no point in taking that flight. We are going to board that flight knowing that we are on equal terms and whichever team performs well session by session and hour by hour will win the Test,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kohli believes that the WTC final will be challenging for his team, but there is no pressure on him.

“WTC final will be challenging for the team. But it’s time to enjoy what we’ve has done in past years. There’s no pressure on me and there won’t be in the future. It’s the final, so it’s time to enjoy it,” the batsman said in the pre-departure presser.

When asked about the long gap between the WTC final and England series, Kohli said, “It’s a great opportunity to reflect and relax. Just for the guys to roam around freely, considering that we will have a five-Test series coming. It will give us time to regroup and that is required before an important series like this. The challenge in England can be daunting, so we want to have the time before that series.”

The Indian Men’s team will arrive in the UK on June 3, 2021, via a charter flight with negative PCR Test,” ICC said in an official release. Prior to travelling, the party will have spent 14 days in a bio-secure environment in India during which regular testing will have taken place.

Upon landing, they will proceed directly to the on-site hotel at the Hampshire Bowl where they will be tested again before commencing a period of managed isolation. Regular tests will be conducted during the period of isolation. Players’ activity will be allowed in a gradually increasing manner after each round of negative testing, moving from exercise in isolation to small group and then larger squad activity, whilst always remaining within the bio-secure venue.

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Sagar Biswas

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