Chennai, Feb 4 | India won’t make the mistake of focussing on the World Test Championship (WTC) final which cost them the series in New Zealand in February 2020, and would instead try to win the Test matches against England, said India skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday.
“In New Zealand, we did discuss it (WTC final) a bit and that could have added extra pressure on us to do every thing so precisely. We ended up being under pressure a little bit. But from Australia onwards, it was all about following a good process, preparing well, going out there and just understanding the situation and making sure we play according to the situation,” said Kohli while speaking to the media on the eve of the first Test against England beginning Friday at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
“In this Australia series, we didn’t speak of winning because of WTC. I think it is a by-product of your team doing well anyway. There’s no point adding extra pressure. For us it remains a game of cricket, one session at a time. One hour at a time. That is how success is achieved in the longest format of the game.
“So no point thinking about something that is still months. It is important to stay in the present and take one day at a time and move forward,” he added.
Kohli, who will return to lead the national side after the paternity leave, said he was impressed by India youngsters and newcomers like Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini performing well in Australia and said that the team’s strategy of going for the win overseas and keep draw as only the last option is what helped them do well and help India win the last Test in Brisbane.
“We had decided back in 2014 when I took over as captain that whenever I get a chance I will go for the win and draw will be our last option when we don’t have a chance to win. We have persisted with this. In every match we think of how and where we can win from. Making plan is one thing but persisting with it requires everyone’s contribution,” said Kohli, adding that the youngsters followed it and that is the reason they performed.
“What happened in Australia recently — youngsters coming and performing is a special win for us. Because we did not have that much experience and the impactful performances they came up with, that can happen only with mindset — they thought that they will go, play and go for the win. Regardless of who we are playing against, the difference in experience, all that goes out of picture and your focus stays on winning.”
“If we see our overseas tours, England or South Africa except New Zealand, we realised that we lost the match in 40-45 minutes. It was not that we were dominated in the Test when we played away from home. When we saw that result in the last Australia series, our belief got stronger that we were on the right path and we knew that we were going on the right way,” the 32-year-old added.