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Friday, July 20, 2018

Glad I didn’t play county cricket, 110 percent fit for UK tour now, says Virat Kohli

The Virat Kohli-led Indian team will play two T20Is against Ireland that would be followed by three T20Is, three ODIs and five Test matches against England.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: June 22, 2018 4:19:29 pm
India vs England, Ind vs Eng, England India, india vs ireland, Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri, sports news, cricket, Indian Express India will play five Tests in England. (Source: PTI)

The Indian cricket team is all set to embark on the tour to England and Ireland for its next assignment. India are scheduled to play two T20Is against Ireland on June 27 and June 29, following which they square-off against their English counterparts in three T20Is, three ODIs, and five Test matches. The five-match Test series will also provide a rare opportunity for Kohli and his men to eke out a rare series win and assert their supremacy in the longer format of the game. Ahead of their departure, Kohli asserted that long break after IPL and the decision to forgo his county stint has actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise and helped him rejuvenate for the two-month-long tour.

Ahead of the England tour, the Indian skipper along with coach Ravi Shastri addressed a press conference in New Delhi and said, “Our strategy will be the same as it was during the tour to South Africa, Sri Lanka. The mindset doesn’t change on the basis of one series. We have patience and the focus is on how to win matches.”

“Our endeavour in every series will be the same. We won’t change any strategy because we are playing in any other nation. For us, an opposition is an opponent. Our aim is to strive for consistency,” added Shastri.

Addressing concerns surrounding his fitness, the Indian skipper said, “I am 100 percent fine now and absolutely ready to go. My neck is fine now. I’ve had good practice & played 6-7 sessions in Mumbai. Breaks like these make you fresh mentally. It has made me excited to go back on to the pitch again.”

“In hindsight, not playing county cricket was the best thing to happen at that moment although I wanted to experience the conditions. England is a place where we haven’t played so much, there is a big gap of four years. So I wanted to acclimatize to the damp conditions.”

“But when I look at it now, attempting to get used to conditions with a 90 percent fit body wasn’t a good idea. Glad I missed it. Now I am 110 percent and I would much rather be in this position. I need to be fresh and that was the best thing to happen.”

Talking about the pitch and the conditions, head coach Ravi Shastri on Friday suggested that every game is a home game for the Indian team as they try to read the pitch properly and not the opponents.

“Every series is important. Every game is home game for us because we play the pitch and not the opponent. The boys know they will be rated if they attack the conditions and perform well,” Shastri said at the team’s press conference.

Virat Kohli added that the side is looking forward to traveling and perform in different conditions. “When we were playing the Test series in South Africa, initially people thought we were outplayed but then the third Test happened and it was followed by the limited overs matches. People can’t see the small things but we as a team know how we did. We are a team looking forward to traveling to other countries and perform.”

Meanwhile, Kohli is unruffled by his past record in England and waved off any suggestions of being concerned about it. “People have forgotten the Champions Trophy was also played in England. I was asked what I would when I landed there, and I said I wanted to walk around the streets with a cup of coffee. My thinking is very different,” Kohli was quick to remind.

“This is a team game. It doesn’t matter how I perform or how one player stands out in the whole tour. We, as a team, have to play well. In the upcoming tour of England, our focus will be on how we can perform well as a team,” he further added.

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