Shastri: 'Anyone who thinks Yo-Yo test is a one-off thing is mistaken'

While Shastri in his inimitable manner was clear that the Yo-Yo test is here to stay, Kohli said that one should look at it as a “hard call” that benefits the team rather than being emotional.

When Shastri was asked at the team’s pre-departure media interaction ahead of the UK tour, he was straightforward in his response.   -  AFP

The Indian men’s cricket team would be going on a tour of England after four years, long enough for the memories to be blurred by successes in the intervening period. But with almost every question at the team’s pre-departure press conference here on Friday hinting at the not-so-great outing by the side in 2014, skipper Virat Kohli was forced to insist that his team was focussing on the present and the future, rather than the past.

“I think a lot of people have held on to the last tour for too long. The Champions Trophy has been completely forgotten, I don't think it was played in Bangladesh. I am actually looking to enjoy the country and not even thinking of cricket right now,” Kohli said when asked about his own poor form on the previous England tour and the team being considered poor travellers.

READ: Kohli: India will feel at home in England

“For us as a team, this is a very exciting time. We are actually looking forward to playing more difficult cricket after the South Africa series and we are not thinking of having time before the Test series we want it to be sooner,” he added.

Kohli insisted the team didn't need any change in strategy except continue with a match-winning mindset – “(change after one series) happens to people who do not have patience – admitted the game was getting more skewed against the bowlers and declared he felt fresh and raring to get back into action after the injury-enforced break.

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Agreeing he would have liked to spend some time playing country cricket but for the neck injury that put paid to those plans, Kohli though had no regrets. “In hindsight, I think what happened was the best thing for me. It is not a place we have played in too much, you do forget what the conditions were when you played last time.

“But given a choice between being 90 percent fit and used to the conditions or feeling 110 percent now and going in fresh, I would rather be in this position. I thought I need to be fresh for the tour rather than be thinking 'I have been here for four months already',” he said.

Asked about the Yo-Yo test, coach Ravi Shastri was categorical. “I think it's a combination of both skills and fitness. You may have the skills but if you have fitness, you can enhance that ability. Anyone who thinks it is a one-off thing is mistaken. The captain leads from the front, the selectors and entire team management is on the same page,” he declared.

And Kohli backed him. “People on the outside may not be able to see the small things that happen in a Test or series. Someone like Jasprit Bumrah was bowling at 144kmph in his last spell of the third Test (in SA) and that's where the fitness comes in. When people are fit, hungry and ready, you are not only competing but winning,” he said.

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