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Time to enjoy 5-6 years of hard work: Kohli ahead of WTC Final

Team India is all set to board their flight for the tour of England to play in the World Test Championship Final against New Zealand, scheduled to be held at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, from June 18-22.

Before the departure, India captain Virat Kohli made a point clear: This one-off Test will bring no pressure, rather it will be a time for the boys to enjoy after 5-6 years of hard work!

Addressing the pre-departure press conference, Kohli said, “This (WTC Final) holds a lot of value for us, especially this being one of its kind. All of us take a lot of pride in Test cricket. For all of us as a unit, especially those who have been part of the Test squad for many years, this is like accumulation of all the hard work, not only of the duration of the World Test Championship but of the last 5-6 years since we started building the side. We are happy to get the opportunity to play the finals.”

Talking about the expectations and pressure to play the highly-anticipated final, Kohli added, “I have no pressure on me. I just want to take Indian cricket forward. There was no pressure on me previously and nor there is any sort of pressure on me now. We don’t think the way other people think. It’s time for us to enjoy after all the hard work the boys have put in, as I said, during the last 5-6 years.”

Adding to Kohli’s thoughts, coach Ravi Shastri said, “It’s the toughest form of the game. It’s a format that tests you. It didn’t happen over three days or three months. It happened over two years. The teams have played each other round the world and earned the rights to play the final. So, it’s one heck of an event.”

Kohli felt lack of match practice in English conditions would hardly affect India’s chances, even as New Zealand have better scopes to acclimatise in the ongoing two-match Test series against England.

“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. If you want us to think that NZ will have an advantage before boarding the flight, then it's that otherwise we feel we are equal. In the past we've landed three days prior to the schedule and had a great tour. It's not the first time we're touring England. It's all in the mind,” Kohli said.

The India skipper also said that the times spent by the players inside their rooms due to strict Covid protocols could have worrying effects on mental health. But he also insisted that the team management has been extremely alert and covering all the bases to keep the players upbeat.