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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Virat Kohli on ICC’s decision to alter WTC points system: Confusing, difficult to understand

A livid Virat Kohli said the decision is "surprising" and "difficult" to comprehend.

By: PTI | Sydney |
Updated: November 26, 2020 10:34:18 pm
The BCCI has granted Kohli a paternity leave and he will return to India after the opening Test, scheduled from December 17 in Adelaide. (FILE)

India skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday questioned the ICC for altering the points system of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC), saying the change is “confusing” and the governing body has a lot to explain.

India slipped to the second position in the standings of the ongoing World Test Championship (WTC) after the ICC last week decided to rank teams “in order of percentage of points earned” from the contested matches.

Australia (296 points from 3 series) toppled India (360 points from 4 series) in the standings after the revision with a percentage of 82.22 compared to the latter’s 75 per cent.

A livid Kohli said the decision is “surprising” and “difficult” to comprehend.

“It is definitely surprising because we were told that points are a matter of contention for the top two teams qualifying in World Test championships and now suddenly it has become percentage out of nowhere, so it is confusing and difficult to understand why,” Kohli said during a video conference ahead of the first ODI against Australia.

READ: Lack of clarity on status of Rohit Sharma’s injury: India captain Virat Kohli

“… if these things were explained to us from day one then it would have been easier to understand the reason why such a change has happened.

“But it happened out of nowhere and I think further questions need to be asked to the ICC to understand why this has been done and what are the reasons behind it.”

With the raging COVID-19 pandemic leading to the cancellation of several bilateral series, the ICC said “just under half of the World Test Championship matches have been played, with that estimated to rise to more than 85 per cent by the end of the competition window.”

According to current regulations, incomplete matches are treated as draw but after due deliberation, the ICC Cricket Committee, headed by Anil Kumble, recommended that the final WTC standings should be determined on the basis of matches played, which was approved by the Board.

“Both the Cricket Committee and Chief Executives Committee supported the approach of ranking teams based on completed matches and points earned as this reflects their performance and doesn’t disadvantage teams that have been unable to compete all of their matches through no fault of their own,” ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney had said.

With India scheduled to play four Tests in Australia and then host England for five Tests, the results of the two series will decide the finalists of the inaugural WTC.

The final is scheduled at Lord’s in England in June 2021.

Shami, Bumrah might be rotated during white-ball series, hints Kohli

The workload of premier fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami is of paramount importance to India captain Virat Kohli and he said it will be closely monitored and managed during the white-ball series against Australia to keep them in good shape for the Tests.

It is expected that Shami and Bumrah, in the absence of an injured Ishant Sharma, will have to the carry the bulk of the burden during the Test series and they will be rotated during the ODIs and T20 Internationals starting from Friday.

“It’s a no-brainer. They have gone through a full IPL. It will be important to monitor their workload,” Kohli said on the eve of the first ODI here.

“You want to see how people react to different situations. There is a fine balance that you need to maintain, something we have managed to do for the last few years,” Kohli said.

“That is why our bowlers have been fit and available for the important matches most of the times for us. It is an important factor for me as a captain. It is going to be crucial.”

Kohli, who has been hugely successful in Australia, agreed that while it can be intimidating to play cricket over here, a good performance does get the respect it deserves.

“It can be a very intimidating experience if you are not ready mentally and (not have the) skills. In every sport they are very tough, the crowd can be tough on travelling players and rightly so.

“But if you perform well, you get a lot of respect. As a sportsman I am a big fan of it. The stadiums are amazing, always a nice tour full of challenges.”

Kohli said that youngsters will be tried out during these two series.

“Yes, we have definitely discussed those things. There are a lot of young guys in the squad.

“It is a great opportunity for them to realise something new about their game. It’s a very important series for them. Definitely looking forward to seeing how they shape up.”

For Kohli, having been there and done that for the country, there is nothing to prove to anyone.

“I don’t come to any place to prove anything to anyone anymore. Growth is the only focus, on the field or off the field. That would be a template for me going forward,” he said.

Kohli, who will be on paternity leave after the first Test, said that he had communicated his decision to the selection committee in advance that he wanted to be with wife Anushka for the birth of their first child.

“The decision was made before the selection meeting that I will be flying back before the first Test. It was purely based on the fact that there was a quarantine period both ways.

“I wanted to be back in time to be with my wife for the birth of our first child. It is very, very special and a beautiful moment in our lives and that was the reason for my decision that was communicated to the selectors,” he said. PTI

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