'After we won those 2 series...': Virat Kohli addresses 'toughest part' of WTC final against Australia

Jun 05, 2023 07:18 PM IST

As India gear up for the WTC final, Kohli revealed that Australia's competitiveness and high level of skill set brings out the best in him.

There is Virat Kohli the run-machine, the modern-era great and then there is Virat Kohli against Australia, still holding those titles in addition to being a tormentor. If anything Kohli's batting figures across formats reveal, it is that he enjoys playing against the Aussies, no matter the venue, no matter the stage. As India gear up for the big World Test Championship final at The Oval against the Pat Cummins-led side, Kohli revealed that Australia's competitiveness and high level of skill set brings out the best in him.

India's Virat Kohli (AP)
India's Virat Kohli (AP)

Kohli has played 24 Test matches against Australia, scoring 1979 runs at an average of 48.26, with eight centuries and five fifties. His run and century tally is the best against any opposition while his average is the third best (min 10 matches against a team) after South Africa (56.18) and Sri Lanka (67.81). Overall, he has scored 16 centuries and 24 fifties against the team in 92 international matches.

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Speaking to Star Sports ahead of the WTC Final, Kohli said: "Australian team is a very competitive side that if you give them even a small window, they will come very hard at you and capitalise. Their skill set is really high. That is the reason my motivation increases even more and I had to take my game to the next level against them. I have to rise and elevate my game against Australia to beat them."

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The former India skipper also weighed in on the conditions at The Oval and explained the toughest part of batting in England.

"We would not get a flat wicket and batters need to be cautious. We need more focus and have to adapt to the situation and conditions. We will need more focus and discipline while batting," Kohli said. "The toughest part about in seaming and swing conditions in England is about choosing the ball you need to hit, defend or leave. Playing with solid technique is important. The balance is very important while batting."

The 33-year-old then opened up on the rivalry between India and Australia, saying that since the team's win Down Under in the 2018/19 and 2020/21 Test series, the Aussies have been immensely respectful of the Indian side.

"The rivalry between India and Australia, in the early days, used to be a lot intense. There used to be a tense environment. But after we won 2 series in Australia, the rivalry has turned into respect. We can't be taken lightly as a Test team. We can see the respect the oppositions have for us. They expect us to give a close fight even in their conditions. We can't be taken lightly anymore," Kohli said.

"There used to be tension in the air in the past. But that's not there now. You have your presence now, there's standing on level terms now," he added.

India head to the final having defeated Australia 2-1 at home in March.

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