Coming out confident after the 3-0 Test series win over South Africa, Indian Test skipper and star batsman Virat Kohli on Friday said that the advent of the cash-rich Indian Premier League, in which several top foreign players figure, has taken away the home advantage from India which is hosting the ICC World T20 Championship in March-April next year.
“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 he thought were dangerous in the tournament by cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar during the discussion after the formal launch of the mega event to held from March 15-April 3 in eight centres across the country.
“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 T20 World Cup, hosted by Bangladesh two years ago, when India lost to Sri Lanka by six wickets in the summit clash. Kohli believes it was important not to overdo things in order to perform well in India.
“In a country like India where conditions are known to everyone now, keeping things simple will be very important, so any team can be be dangerous if they don’t try too much,” he said.
Kohli’s teammate Ajinkya Rahane said every team should be considered dangerous in the T20 format, while flamboyant opener Shikhar Dhawan felt the team that gets momentum at the right time would hold an 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 specially, momentum is very big thing,” said Dhawan.
Asked whether Pakistan has a slight disadvantage, as their players had not figured in the IPL after the inaugural 2008 season, Rahane said playing conditions in the two countries are similar.