Virat Kohli said on Wednesday that India and New Zealand are "on a par" when it comes to Southampton's conditions for the World Test Championship (WTC) final. The teams will play the final starting June 18 at the Hampshire Bowl and leave India for their tour of the UK, which also includes a five-round series against England starting August 4, Wednesday. “The conditions (in England) are as strong for us as New Zealand... We will get on board thinking we are on a level playing field and the team is doing well in every session, hour by hour, I will win that tournament,” Kohli said in a virtual press conference before departure.
New Zealand is already in England, playing a series of two Tests against the hosts which started with the first Test at Lords on Wednesday. They are scheduled to finish their second round in Edgbaston on June 14, just four days before the World Test Championships final.
However, Kohli said New Zealand had no advantage over the Indians even after they spent a significant amount of time playing in England before the final.
"It's not the first time we've played in England," Kohli said. "(With) the hunger and the desire to be there... We have no problem having only four training sessions before the final."
Indian cricketers Ajinkia Rahane, Umesh Yadav, and Ishant Sharma described the World Test Championship final as a draw for the World Cup final, and both Kohli and India coach Ravi Shastri agreed that what was in the making.
"For all of us, this is an accumulation of all the hard work of the past five or six years," Kohli said.
Regardless of the size of the final match, teams will move from one biosecurity bubble to the next, and Kohli has spoken extensively about the impact of bubble cricket on the mental health of players.
"With the current structure (going from one vital bubble to the next), it's very difficult for players to stay motivated," Kohli said.
“...Being confined to one area (it would be difficult).
"Mental health (for players) will enter the picture. There is no space where you can disconnect from the game."
The World Test Championship final will follow a series against England, who beat India 4-1 in the final round of 2018. With India winning the Test series in Australia in two back-to-back rounds on the road, could England be a definitive end?
Not quite, said Kohli. "(The England series) is not a definitive end for us. We want to stay at the top for the next few years. We worked hard for the final, for us it's just about keeping it high," he said.
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