Ahead of the fourth Test, Virat Kohli has stated that Test cricket will always be a priority for the Indian team and WTC won’t come as an incentive. While stating that he has no worries about his form, he reaffirmed that Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are vital cogs of the batting unit.
While the talk of the town was in regards to the pitch and the conditions in Ahmedabad for the fourth Test, the other prime focus was on the World Test Championship final, which hangs on the edge. Both India and Australia - have an equal chance of qualifying for the final, depedning on the result of the series finale. However, Indian skipper Virat Kohli stated that Test cricket has always been a priority for the Indian team and these things don’t matter a lot.
The Indian skipper in the presser also insisted that the team does not worry about qualifying or not for the World Test Championship final, which comes as a distraction for them. He added that they are looking at the series from another Test series perspective and nothing else. However, he cited that the new pattern for Test cricket might come as a motivation for other teams to take Test cricket seriously.
“I think it might work for teams that are motivated to play Test cricket. But for us, it doesn’t matter because we look at Test cricket very seriously. We look at the entire series as a game of cricket and not in terms of the World Test Championship,” Kohli told pressers in the online press conference on Wednesday.
“As an individual and as a team, we always focus on results and not worry about the other factors. So for us, Test cricket has always been a priority and if you think about other things, it is a distraction for us. We are going to head in the right direction,” he added.
Despite going months without a century, Kohli insisted that he is not in a desperate situation to score a century but stated that his responsibility is to lead the team to a win, with or without a century.
“No, I’m not in a desperate situation, I understand my place on the side, so I don’t worry about these things. My responsibility is to lead the team to win, individual scores won’t matter a lot to me.”
After Jasprit Bumrah left the bio-bubble, owing to personal reasons, Kohli added that rotation might be key in such a tight environment, where it is crucial for teams to rest their stars from time to time. While England have done it with ease in the past year, India are finding itself learning on the go about workload management.
“I feel any format of cricket is right for rotation, no human being can go for that long a period without having a rest. Especially in the bio-bubble environment, it is crucial to rest people and these things should be considered as long as we play in these bubbles.”
In regards to the form of Cheteshwar Pujara, the Indian skipper insisted that Pujara is one of the vital cogs of this Indian setup, without a doubt. He also stated that four years ago, the right-hander from Saurashtra was considered a home-track bully but since then, has performed highly in overseas conditions. So Kohli reckoned that alongside Ajinkya Rahane, Pujara is one of the most crucial players of the team and would be the first person to iron out his flaws.
“Look, Cheteshwar Pujara, first and foremost knows where he has to improve his game. The fact of the matter, four years ago, he was considered a home-track bully but now he is performing everywhere except India,” he said.
“So it’s not been easy, everyone has struggled, so if you criticise his performance at home, it isn’t fair for him. Alongside Jinx, he will be an important player for our team. He’s a very responsible guy and will bat to iron out the flaws. There’s absolutely no concern,” he concluded.