Virat Kohli welcomes six-week gap after WTC final

India skipper Kohli feels it is essential to regroup as a side ahead of the long Test summer in England after going through a host of COVID-19 protocols.

India captain Virat Kohli welcomed the six-week break before the start of the Test series against England in August.   -  FILE PHOTO/AP

After the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in Southampton that starts June 18, the Indian cricket team will have a six-week gap to regroup before the five-match Test series against England.

Though the schedule has drawn flak from many quarters, which includes former India batsman Dilip Vengsarkar who questioned the 42-day break, Kohli feels it will help the players stay fit and motivated.

“I feel after you are done with the WTC, it is a great opportunity to refresh and restructure. If things are okay in England, with us finishing our quarantine periods, it is important for the guys to feel normal and disconnect for a while before the five-match series.

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“Like in Australia, if we had to compete inside a bubble for that long a tour, it would have been very tough. The fact that we had a bit of access like locals gave us a bit more time and space to reset,” said Kohli.

Aware of the mental challenges of playing cricket in England, the Indian captain acknowledged the fact that the players will get time to recharge batteries. “It will help us regroup as a side and prepare for a long series, and that kind of a setup is important. Five Tests in England can be challenging and daunting. We want to have the most amount of time before the series just to be in that zone.”

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India has not won an ICC tournament final since the Champions Trophy in England in 2013. Kohli believes this is the chance to turn the tide, and that can be done by “enjoying the game”.

“The last time we toured New Zealand, they played better Test cricket. That’s all. The conditions in the UK are as potent for New Zealand as it is for us. If you want us to board the flight thinking New Zealand has the edge, there is no point taking that flight," he said.

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