Indian skipper Virat Kohli came out to talk about the team in his first press conference. India will play its first test match of the five-match test series on 4th August in Nottingham. The Indian captain spoke about Shardul Thakur and preparations ahead of the game.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
On the question of improving and learning from previous games
As a team, we look to improve the things that we haven’t done well and we need to get better at understanding critical situations. When things don’t go your way, it is over to you, how to control the damage that is what Test cricket is all about. You have to go through situations and eventually capitalize on things to turn them your way. We know from all the test matches that we have done well and now it all boils down to execution in those moments.
On Shardul Thakur
He already is a multi-dimensional cricketer. It’s all about getting more and more confidence from his performances in Brisbane. Someone like him brings a lot of balance in a test team or any other format of the game. Hardik (Pandya) has done it for us in the past right now he is bowling regularly. This kind of cricketer helps massively and Shardul is a big prospect for us in the future as well.
How important is this test series for him and Team India?
I’ve never really played for any milestones or landmarks in my career. Every game and series is an opportunity to test me and my character and how mentally strong I am and how much skill level I have to sustain for a long period. Things won’t be any different we are going to play with the same passion and commitment as we play every series. Any series or match you play for your country is as important as any match you play anywhere else in the world.
How prepared is the team for the tour of England?
We are much better prepared than in the past. The situation has allowed us to acclimatize and get used to the weather, it can change drastically and quickly. At the same time playing under different conditions is going to add to our experience which the team already possesses having played in England in the past. It boils down to execution, your belief, and how much you want to win in these situations which are not going to be easy.
On playing out of your comfort zone
In my opinion, you cannot play for a long period if you are not wanting to be in situations that are the opposite of what your comfort zone is.
Will England batsmen carry scars from the previous series?
That all depends on the batsmen walking out, how much scarring they take with them when they come to bat. We can bowl them out consistently that’s the kind of quality we possess. If we execute our skills and plans then we can do that very often in this series.
How are you going to tackle James Anderson?
I’ll just bat.
On following the Tokyo Olympics
We all have been keenly following, at breakfast we had big screens which were always running the Olympics games especially when our athletes were performing we were keely watching. The whole country and we are super proud of the medal winners and also the people who have gone far who might not have won medals but gave their best, we are all very proud of them.
On the criticism on Cheteshwar Pujara
A player of his caliber should be left alone. It should be left on the player to work on himself to whatever drawbacks in his games, similarly with me and any other player. We are responsible for and aware of the things we need to do for the benefit of the team. From the outside I can say the criticism is unnecessary, I know for the fact that Pujara does not care and criticism is as relevant as you want it to be. It’s just words at the end of the day and you can just walk on your path and give no value to them.
How important break?
As a captain, subconsciously your mind just keeps working on. You get so accustomed to team planning daily, you don’t get the time to switch off. From that point of view break was very crucial, as you have also seen with Ben Stokes took a break and we have been living in a bubble for the past one and a half years. It’s not easy, breaks are important in my opinion. It brings back the players more refreshed. In these environments, in my case being a captain and having the responsibility of the team is a very stressful job. Then you are confined in a bubble that is when things start to go away from you. We go into the series fit, refreshed, and optimistic.