'World Test Championship final literally the World Cup': Kohli, Pujara and others react to India reaching WTC final
- India cricketers have reacted to the team reaching the WTC final, with Virat Kohli saying the team deserved a place in the final having played some impressive cricket in the last couple of years.
Having inflected a dominating innings defeat on England in the fourth Test in Ahmedabad, India successfully qualified for the World Test Championship final, where they will face New Zealand in June later this year. India needed to win the series 2-1 to seal their spot, but with an emphatic 3-1 outcome, all mathematical equations were laid to rest.
It will be India vs New Zealand in the final of the World Test Championship at the Lord's Cricket Ground and following the Ahmedabad Test win, India cricketers Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, R Ashwin and other reacted to the team reaching the WTC final, with captain Kohli saying the team deserved a place in the final having played some impressive cricket in the last couple of years.
"We are quite relived now that we've made it to the final. If you look at the last two years how we’ve played, we deserve to be in the final. Now it's just about getting together as a group again and focussing on that one big game which is quite exciting for all of us," Kohli said in a video posted by BCCI.
Rahane, who captained India in the absence of Kohli in three of the four Tests of the 2020/21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, explained how India have benefitted from contributions from every individual in some or the other capacity.
"I felt the way we came back as a team, each and every individual stepped up. Credit to everyone. Everyone hung in there. It's all about the team. We always think about team goals, how can we contribute for the team and that's what we did. And I'm really happy as an individual, as a vice captain that we're got this reward," Rahane said.
Rohit, who has been a pillar of India's success, batting tremendously since his promotion as a Test opener, feels the team has displayed nerves of steel and fortitude playing both home and away.
"It's been a long journey since the WTC started. We've played cricket well in India, we've played cricket well outside India as well. We were put under pressure, in that difficult situation many times and we responded well. Which is why we stand here qualified for the final. We deserve the qualification," Rohit said.
Ishant Sharma, who recently played his 100th Test and became only the third fast bowler from the country after Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan, to claim 300 wickets in the format, is eagerly looking forward to the summit clash.
"Feeling great to be part of this team, looking forward. Very happy that all the effort we have put together in the last two years. We had worked for this," said Ishant.
Ashwin, who like Ishant and Rahane is confined to playing Test matches for India, feels the WTC final is like playing the World Cup, and admits that although a three-Test series for the WTC would have been ideal, India will put their best foot forward for the crunch final.
"For people like Pujji, me, Jinx, Ishant, a lot of us, who didn't play the 2019 world Cup, this is like literally the World Cup. I'm so happy for all of them and the team for getting there. I’m sure we can get a positive result if we adapt quickly because it's just one match that we’ll have as a final. It would have been nicer had there been three, but we just have once. We’ll live with that and we’ll try and give our best shot," said Ashwin.
Umesh Yadav, who also mostly plays Test matches for India, feels India are ready for this big stage. "When you get such a big stage of WTC and you know that you're playing Test matches for a long time, this is like a World Cup for us. The guys are really happy so wherever we play – home or away – this team has shown it," Umesh Yadav said.
KL Rahul may not have gotten a game in the last two series, but that hasn't hampered his excitement for the WTC final. "We truly deserve this. I think the boys have done really well over the past two years. We never gave up and that’s the motto of the team and that's what Virat as captain and the rest of the seniors in the team are trying to inspire the youngsters with," he said.
One of the key players responsible for India qualifying for the WTC final, Cheteshwar Pujara is confident that India will emerge victorious against New Zealand at Lord's.
"The boys have worked really hard, it's been more than two years since this began. As an individual I can feel it for the team that all of us are very proud. We are very hopeful that we will do well in the final. It's an amazing feeling for all of us to qualify for the WTC final. We are very confident that we can pull it off," said Pujara.