Before departing for England where they will take on New Zealand in the final of the World Test Championship followed by a five-match Test series against the home side, Indian captain Virat Kohli spoke to the media in a press conference in Mumbai. He was also accompanied by head coach Ravi Shastri.
Kohli talked about the importance of the World Test Championship Final and also mentioned that he doesn’t believe that New Zealand’s two-match Test series against England right before the final will give them an added advantage.
“This (WTC Final) holds a lot of value. All of us take a lot of pride in playing Test cricket. This is like an accumulation of hard work for all us. Just very happy to play in the finals.
“In the past we’ve landed three days prior to the schedule and had a great tour. It’s not the first time we’re touring England. It’s all in the mind. We don’t have any issues even with just four practice sessions ahead of the final. We all want to make the most of our opportunities,” said Kohli.
The upcoming few months will be gruelling for the Indian team especially players that are involved in all formats of the game. The World Test Championship final will be followed by a two-week gap before the Test series against England begins. Following that, the players are expected to fly to UAE to participate in the remainder of IPL 2021. They will then be battling for pride and glory in the World T20 in October.
The Indian captain spoke about the massive challenges and difficulties of playing continued cricket amidst the pandemic. “Apart from the workloads, the mental health side of things will also come into the picture big time because you don’t have an outlet at all,” said Kohli.
“In today’s day and age, you literally go into the ground, come back to the room, and you have no space where you can just disconnect from the game and just go out for a walk or go out for a meal or a coffee and say, ‘okay, let me refresh myself, let me just get away from the game a little bit’.
“So I think this is a huge factor which should not be neglected. Because as much hard work as we’ve done to create this team, you don’t want players falling out because of the mental pressures and not having the capacity or the space to express themselves.”
He also advocated for the need to better manage the mental health of cricketers and supported players taking a break from the sport in order to get into a good headspace.
“So I think there has to always be a channel over which the management has left it for players to approach them and tell them, ‘Look, I’m not feeling right in the head, and I just need a break and I just want to disconnect from the game’.
“So I think that’s going to be a huge factor and I’m sure that the management understands that,” concluded the Indian skipper.