India skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri on Wednesday said that the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) will be the biggest event as the longest format of the game tests a player in each and every department. India and New Zealand will lock horns in the finals of WTC at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, beginning June 18. Before that, New Zealand will also play a two-match Test series against England, which has begun today at Lord`s.
“See it is the first time that you have a World Test Championship final. When you look at that and the magnitude of the game that is going to be played, I think this is the biggest, if not the biggest-ever. It is the toughest format of the game, it is a format that tests you. It has not happened over the three months, it has happened over two years where teams have played each other across the world and earned their right to play in the finals. It is one hell of an event,” said Ravi Shastri while answering an ANI query during a virtual press conference.
Answering the same question, Kohli said: “I agree. I think this holds a lot of value, especially this being the first of its kind. It is the toughest format as Ravi Bhai mentioned. We take a lot of pride in playing Test cricket and the way we have progressed as a side is an example of what Test cricket means to us. So for all of us as a unit, this is like an accumulation of all the hard work of the last five-six years where we started to come up the ranks as a side and we are just happy to take the opportunity to play the finals.
“Shastri also opined that if the WTC has to be played in the future, then the ICC should look to have a three-match series in place for the finals. “I think ideally in the long run, if they want to pursue this WTC, best of three finals would be ideal. But you have to finish it as early as possible, because of the FTP. One-off is a one-off. Guys have earned their stripes. When you start competing at the top, you have the ability to pull yourself out of tough situations,” said Shastri.
“This side has pulled itself out of big problems so I think the final is a great victory for the boys really,” he added.
When asked whether the upcoming UK tour is like the final frontier for Team India: “Test cricket, we have been number one for a few years, another transition is going within the team. I do not think this is the final frontier for the team. It is an ongoing process to keep the standard of Indian cricket high, transition phase is going on now so our job is to ensure that the passion remains within the next lot of players. We had no doubt in our minds that we will be the first team to feature in the WTC finals.”
“It is like football, if you win the Champions League, you do not stop working hard. You want to win three and four, it is our mindset, we want to win the finals. Then we want to restructure and be on top for the next few years,” he added.
India and New Zealand will lock horns in the finals of WTC at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, beginning June 18. Before that, New Zealand will also play a two-match Test series against England, which has begun today at Lord`s.
The Indian Men`s team will arrive in the UK on June 3, 2021, via a charter flight with negative PCR Test,” ICC said in an official release. Prior to travelling, the party will have spent 14 days in a bio-secure environment in India during which regular testing will have taken place.
Upon landing, they will proceed directly to the on-site hotel at the Hampshire Bowl where they will be tested again before commencing a period of managed isolation. Regular tests will be conducted during the period of isolation. Players` activity will be allowed in a gradually increasing manner after each round of negative testing, moving from exercise in isolation to small group and then larger squad activity, whilst always remaining within the bio-secure venue.