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WTC Final: One game over five days isn't going to reflect how we are as team: Kohli

By Pti

Southampton, June 17: India captain Virat Kohli on Thursday asserted that one Test match is not a "true reflection" of his team even if it happens to be the World Test Championship final against New Zealand here and he is treating it as "just another" game.

WTC Final: India vs New Zealand: Siraj misses out as Ashwin, Jadeja named in playing XIWTC Final: India vs New Zealand: Siraj misses out as Ashwin, Jadeja named in playing XI

For the Indian captain and his team, the WTC final is like their Test debuts as young players trying to come up the ranks.

"One game over five days. It's not going to reflect anything and those who understand the game know and also what has gone over the period of last four to five years," Kohli said on the eve of the big final against the Black Caps.

"If we win, cricket will not stop and if we lose also, cricket won't stop. We are playing in quest of excellence and understand who we are as a team," the eloquent Indian captain added.

WTC Final: India vs New Zealand stats, records preview; Ashwin's hold over Williamson, Pant's dropped catchesWTC Final: India vs New Zealand stats, records preview; Ashwin's hold over Williamson, Pant's dropped catches

He was not forthcoming when a question on team combination was posed based on a previous answer that the team would select a composition "with all bases covered" regardless of the weather forecast of rain on opening day. "A team with enough batting depth and bowling resources," he said when asked if he would factor in the rain and overcast conditions.

He was also dismissive when asked if this was the biggest cricketing event of his illustrious career. "No," pat came the reply.

"This is just another Test match. All these things (WTC final) look good from the outside. One game can't become a do-or-die game. It's a great moment but cricket goes on just like life goes on.

"The occasion needs to be enjoyed and no more important than the first Test that we all played as young players trying to rise through the ranks. We need to have belief in our abilities and keep things simple. It's a contest between bat and ball."

The playing eleven picked for the final is on expected lines with both spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja making the cut alongside the fast bowling trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami.

The in-form Rishabh Pant will come in at No 6 after the experienced trio of Cheteshwar Pujara, Kohli himself and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane.

"Weather doesn't change anything for us as a team. For us it is about covering all bases and take the strongest side we can on the park which gives us enough batting depth and bowling options as well.

"So we are quite clear in terms of what we want to do and we are not going to think too much about what might change. We have our bases covered...," he said.

Asked what changed from the time this team lost to New Zealand in New Zealand, the skipper replied: "Well, we lost on a given day. This is not one day cricket or T20 cricket that finishes in an hour. This is a hard grind over a period of five days, something that we take a lot of pride in and a great example of what you saw in Australia.

"Younger lot stood up against a very experienced and strong Australian side and we beat them in their backyard.

"So we understand the kind of cricket we have played to get here in the finals and we understand what we are as a team and who we are as a group of players."

Playing XI: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami.

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Story first published: Thursday, June 17, 2021, 20:09 [IST]
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