ICC Test Championship gives context to the format, says Virat Kohli at press conference
Starting the World Test Championship cycle on a solid note and trying out new talent in the T20 games will be focus of the Indian team which left on Monday night for a month-long tour of the West Indies. Skipper Virat Kohli said ICC’s experiment with the Test championship will give Test cricket context, which will lead to every session and game becoming more intense as there will be more than just the result of the series on the line. At the end of the two-year cycle, the top two Test teams will contest the final.
“We all were looking forward to it. We felt like there were a few series in between where after big tours we felt like maybe a one-off Test or a couple of Tests were not apt for the moment. But this gives a lot of context to all kinds of cricket we’re going to play.
“It will be challenging, but all the more exciting and all the teams I am sure are going to enjoy a lot through this whole journey of the Test Championship.”
While India will start as favourites in the Tests, after their series win in Australia, the T20 matches—not part of the ICC championships—where the contest will be more even. With a number of their players in huge demand in T20 leagues around the world, West Indies have a formidable line-up that will test Kohli’s men. Building a team for the 2020 T20 World Cup will be of equal focus. The series opens with three T20s and they will be used to see how newcomers like Rahul Chahar, Deepak Chahar, Washington Sundar, Khaleel Ahmed and Krunal Pandya fit in.
“I am particularly excited about the first three T20s because a new lot of players is coming in. Some have done really well in the format and shown great composure in tournaments like IPL, domestically as well. It is a great marker for all those guys and for us as a team as well, to have them in the squad,” said Kohli.
“When I met the selectors, the basic message from them was to try out a few players they had in mind. It is a very exciting opportunity for all the guys stepping in for the first time.”
Kohli was expected to take a break from the limited overs matches to ease his workload and it came as a surprise he has chosen to play in the three T20s and three ODIs as well, ahead of the Tests. He said the selectors went by the fitness expert’s report on his workload.
“Our rest period is put on record, it is all on email to the Board, and it is done by the physio and the trainer together. I don’t know what report they have created, I honestly haven’t seen it. They hadn’t had any conversation with any of the players till that point of time.
“In my mind until the trainer and physio tell me ‘now you need to rest and recover because your progress is such and such’, because we collect the data from all games and for some players the workload is more than the others. I averaged about 15km a game during the World Cup, so it really depends on those two professionals. I don’t know the communication that was sent out to the selectors, but nothing was communicated to me to rest.”
Kohli said he was also keen to play as it would help him and the team overcome the World Cup setback. “From the point of view of us not making it to the final of the World Cup and bowing out, it is an important time to regroup and come together as a side.
“We were all disappointed not going through to the final and probably winning the World Cup. But you have to move on and you to have accept defeat as well and move forward and look forward to new things.”
Kohli backs Shastri
India captain Virat Kohli has backed Ravi Shastri for the post of the team’s chief coach. Shastri’s tenure came to an end with the World Cup and will have to go through the coach selection process again. “Look, the CAC hasn’t contacted me yet. If they tell me we want your opinion, yes I will definitely go and speak to them. And with Ravi bhai, all of us have a greet camaraderie. Everyone in the team shares mutual respect and we have done really well together as a group. We will definitely be very happy if he is continuing as the coach. But as I said, it’s on the CAC to seek my advice or opinion if they want. Right now, I haven’t been contacted at all at the moment. I don’t know what’s gonna happen in the process and that’s where it stands.”
The Indian cricket board has invited fresh applications for the post of the head coach and the support staff, the deadline for which is July 30