Kohli: You cannot think of revenge against Kiwis even if you want to

Indian captain Virat Kohli said that the New Zealand team set the example for teams to play international cricket with their performances at the 2019 World Cup.

Virat Kohli said that the series in New Zealand is all about two quality sides competing against each other.   -  reuters

The 2019 World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand still rankles Virat Kohli, but there will be no thoughts of avenging the defeat as India prepares for a long tour beginning with 1st T20I on Friday.

“Even if you want to think of revenge, these guys are so nice you cannot get into that zone,” said Kohli at the pre-match press conference.

“We get along really well with these guys and it’s all about being competitive on the field. As I said in England, they are probably one side that has set the example for teams to play international cricket,” he reasoned.

Lauding the affable demeanour of the Kane Williamson-led side, Kohli said they are great ambassadors for the sport.

”...they obviously want to bring out the best they can in every ball and every game, they are intense in their body language, they are not nasty, they are not doing things which are not acceptable on the field,” he pointed out.

Williamson and his men had drawn effusive praise for their grace in the aftermath of a heartbreaking World Cup final loss to England, a game that was decided on boundary count after scores were tied.

“It is not about any kind of revenge - it is two quality sides playing good cricket. It is a challenge to beat New Zealand here and we are totally up for it,” Kohli said.

On to cricketing matters and the India skipper said the Kiwis are favourites in home conditions and he would not make the mistake of taking them lightly despite the recent injury setbacks.

“They will have slight home advantage but we have played a lot here in the past seasons. Every series is a fresh start and New Zealand in New Zealand is obviously a bigger challenge than playing them back in India. So we definitely have to be at our best game,” he said.

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Speaking about his team, Kohli reiterated that KL Rahul’s dual role as a batsman and wicket-keeper is providing better balance to the side. He said he won’t read much into criticism which may come his way by letting Rahul bat in top-order.

“As I said him doing well with the gloves has really opened up a scenario for us where it gives us a lot more balance in playing an extra batsman. This is something that we are looking to continue for a while; nothing taken away from anyone else and it is just what he brings to the side.

“And I know there will be a lot said about, talks around what happens to other players and what not, but the most important thing is what the team requires and the best balance we can create for the side,” he said in a veiled reference to the future of designated keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant.

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