The Indian cricket team has boarded the flight to Southampton to take on New Zealand in the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship (WTC) final from June 18-22. The tourists will also take part in the five-match Test series against England starting from August 4 in Nottingham. 

Before embarking on the journey, captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri addressed the media from Mumbai, busting all the theories about New Zealand having any upper hand over India. The Kiwis are already playing England in a two-match Test series, but Kohli asserted on why that shouldn’t be seen as an advantage for Kane Williamson’s men. 

“In the past, we’ve landed three days prior to the schedule and had a great tour. Conditions are as potent for New Zealand as they are for us. Conditions in Australia should’ve favoured them too. It’s about how you look at things. It’s all in the head,” the maestro batsman reckoned. 

“Even if you are used to the conditions, if you don’t enter the field in the right frame of mind, you are going to nick that first ball or you are going to find it tough to pick wickets. All that matters is that we have the required hunger and desire,” Kohli added.

The World Test Championship (WTC) was only introduced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2019 and although the product is still at a nascent stage, many experts and players have questioned the format and its credibility. 

Kohli and Shastri too shared their views on how the ICC can help the product become bigger and better. 

“It's the toughest form of the game. It’s a format that tests you, it hasn't happened over three days or three months. It’s happened over two years, where teams have played each other around the world to earn their stripes. So it’s one heck of an event,” the Indian coach opined.

India have played consistent Test cricket under Kohli in the recent past, both at home and overseas. Currently, India are No. 1 in the ICC rankings for Tests. India also booked their slot in the WTC final by beating England 3-1 at home earlier this year. 

Elaborating how the players in the side should approach the challenges ahead, the 32-year-old captain said, “It’s time to enjoy ourselves having put in the hard yards for the last five-six-seven years. Our point of view is a lot different than those (from) outside. If we think like them, we cannot perform.”

Featured photo: NOAH SEELAM / AFP