There is a reason I can discuss life & not cricket with Williamson on the boundary line: Virat Kohli

By: Sports Desk |

Updated: February 19, 2020 7:26:14 pm





India and New Zealand regular captain Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson did not play the fifth and final T20I at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui and were spotted sitting on the boundary hoardings together with water bottles beside them. (BCCI)

The Indian cricket team visited India House in Wellington on Wednesday, ahead of the first Test against New Zealand which begins on February 20. The Test series will be part of the World Test Championship, wherein Virat Kohli-led India are at the top of the Test Championship table with 360 points. New Zealand are at number six with 60 points.

On the visit to India House, India captain Virat Kohli shared his experience and said: “I’m very honored to be hereafter being invited by the High Commissioner and we want to thank you for that.”

“Of all the tours we have coming to the High Commission is always a very special evening, because we get to spend time with people from India obviously, but we also get to meet a lot of people from the country we are in.”

Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson. (BCCI)

“If we ever have to share our No 1 spot it would be New Zealand.”

“Something that we as a team have embraced over the last four years and we’ve reached a stage where every team want to beat us, New Zealand won’t be any different but the difference is that there won’t be any spite in it. That is one reason I can sit with Kane on the boundary line and have a conversation mid-game about life and not cricket.”

Watch the video here:

It may be recalled here that India and New Zealand regular captain Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson did not play the fifth and final T20I at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui and were spotted sitting on the boundary hoardings together with water bottles beside them.

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Team India visit Indian High Commission in Wellington; see pics

By: Sports Desk |

Updated: February 19, 2020 7:05:15 pm





Virat Kohli & co. visited the Indian High Commission in Wellington on Wednesday. (Source: Twitter/ANI)

Ahead of the two-match Test series against New Zealand, Virat Kohli & co. visited the Indian High Commission in Wellington on Wednesday.

The team was accompanied by the support staff and skipper Kohli graced the occasion with a speech on the mutual admiration both the sides have for each other.

“If we ever have to share our No 1 spot it would be New Zealand,” Kohli said while addressing the gathering present at the venue.

He also mentioned that he feels honored to be present at the High Commission as it gives the team an opportunity to interact with Indians and the people from the country they are in.

“I’m very honoured to be here. Of all the tours we have coming to the High Commission is always a very special evening, because we get to spend time with people from India obviously, but we also get to meet a lot of people from the country we are in.”

India will kick-start the much-anticipated Test series against the Kiwis on Friday at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. The team will then travel to Christchurch for the second and final match of the series, which will be played on February 29.

Ahead of the Tests, both India and New Zealand competed in the limited-overs format. While India secured a resounding 5-0 victory against the hosts in T20Is, the Kiwis bounced back in a similar fashion and went on to claim a whitewash over the Men In Blue in the 50-over format.

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Cheteshwar Pujara signs up with English county Gloucestershire

By: PTI | London |

Published: February 19, 2020 6:21:31 pm





India’s cricket player Cheteshwar Pujara gets ready for a training session. (AP Photo)

India Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara was on Wednesday signed up by Gloucestershire for the first six matches of the English County Championship starting April 12.

Pujara is one of the key players in the Indian Test team, providing solidity to the batting line-up with his technique. His stint with Gloucestershire will be from April 12 to May 22.

“I am really excited to get the opportunity to represent Gloucestershire this season. The Club has a rich cricketing history, and this is a great opportunity to be a part of it and contribute to its success,” Pujara said in a press release issued by the club.

The club took into consideration the 32-year-old right-hander’s ability to bat for long periods.

He will bring his experience to a Gloucestershire side, which will be playing in Division One of the County Championship for the first time in over a decade.

“I am grateful to the Club for giving me this opportunity and cannot wait to get to Bristol to meet my teammates and score some runs,” Pujara said.

“I have really enjoyed the experience of coming over to the UK and playing county cricket over the last few years and I am looking forward to building on that whilst continuing to improve my game.”

Pujara has previously played in England for Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire in the County Championship. The batsman made his Test debut for India in 2010 against Australia. In 2012, he made his first international Test century against New Zealand in Hyderabad where he scored 159.

He has an impressive batting average of 49.48 in Test cricket with 206 not out being his best score, which he made against England.

He has an equally impressive first-class average of 53.99 with a highest score of 352 for Saurashtra against Karnataka.

Gloucestershire head coach Richard Dawson said, “Cheteshwar is a player with great temperament who will add international experience to the squad.

“He is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen in world cricket and we are very fortunate to have him in our squad for the start of the County Championship campaign,” he explained.

“Adding Pujara to a strong batting line-up gives me great confidence ahead of our opening County Championship matches,” he added.

Pujara is the first Indian player to play for Gloucestershire since Javagal Srinath in 1995.

Srinath took 87 wickets in the only season he represented The Shire.

During his stint, Pujara will be available for the four-day games against Yorkshire, Lancashire, Kent, Somerset, Essex and Surrey.

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Daytona 500: How Ryan Newman’s last lap ended in flames

By: New York Times |

Published: February 19, 2020 4:35:47 pm





NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Newman goes airborne after being hit by Corey LaJoie (32) on the last lap of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway (Source: USA TODAY Sports)

By Victor Mather

There are 200 scheduled laps in the Daytona 500, but it was the last one of this year’s race Monday that will be most remembered. In a few chaotic moments, Ryan Newman’s car edged into the lead on the final turn, crashed, flipped onto its roof and then was hit broadside by another car. In the fiery aftermath of the accident, Denny Hamlin won the race, the crowd fell silent, and Newman skidded down the track in a shower of sparks and flames.

Newman’s injuries were reported after the race as serious but not life-threatening. On Tuesday afternoon, Newman’s team reported he was “awake and speaking with family and doctors.”

Here’s a moment-by-moment look at what happened.

There had already been a crash as the final lap began, but because it did not affect the leaders, no yellow flag came out, and the race steamed toward the finish. Ryan Blaney (12), in third place, got right behind Newman, in second. Working together with the draft, the two cars blew by the leader, Hamlin, dropping him to third and putting Newman in position to win.

In the final turn of the race, Newman (6) led Blaney and Hamlin. But when Blaney pulled up right onto Newman’s bumper, the trouble began.

Blaney’s car pushed Newman’s No. 6 from behind, sending him spinning right toward the wall.

Once it hit the wall, Newman’s car — facing back down the track — flipped into the air as the other contenders covered the final yards to the checkered flag.

That left him in a precarious position, tumbling through a cloud of smoke into the traffic behind the leaders. His car dropped right in front of the one driven by Corey Lajoie, who later said he had nowhere to go. “I didn’t even know who I hit,” Lajoie told “Good Morning America” on Tuesday morning. “Nobody realizes how fast 200 mph is or how light or how uncontrollable these cars are when they get out of shape.”

Lajoie slammed into the driver’s side of the airborne No. 6 car, sending Newman and the car back into the air.

Newman skidded down the track in a hail of sparks, eventually crossing the start-finish line in ninth place.

Newman came to rest on the apron, immobile and with gasoline — and now flames — rising from his upturned race car. Emergency workers quickly doused the fire, flipped the vehicle back onto its tires, and set to work extricating the injured Newman.

The roof was cut off the car to help get Newman out of it. Screens were used to shield the stretcher carrying him from the crowd.

Ryan Newman, Ryan Newman car accident, Ryan Newman car crash, Ryan Newman injury, Ryan Newman injury update, Daytona 500, NASCAR, NASCAR crashes Rescue workers arrive to check on Ryan Newman after he was involved in a wreck on the last lap of the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway (Source: AP)

By then, the result had become an afterthought. Hamlin edged Blaney in a photo finish to claim his second consecutive Daytona 500 win. Unaware of Newman’s injuries, he and his team celebrated on the track and in the pits. Hamlin later apologized once word of the severity of the crash reached him.

“I had absolutely NO IDEA of the severity of the crash until I got to victory lane,” he wrote on Twitter. “There’s very little communication after the finish and i had already unhooked my radio. It’s not anyone’s fault.”

Newman’s health and recovery, Hamlin said later in an interview in Victory Lane, “is way more important than any victory, no matter how big the race is.”

Newman’s team eventually released a statement in which they said Newman was in serious condition but “the doctors have indicated his injuries are not life-threatening.”

On Tuesday afternoon, they released an update on his condition, saying that while Newman remained a patient at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, he was “awake and speaking with family and doctors.”

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Erling Haaland adds to his tally, and to his legend


Updated: February 19, 2020 4:00:40 pm





Erling Braut Haaland celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint Germain. (AP Photo)

By Rory Smith

Borussia Dortmund’s players hung back a little, idling halfway between the centre circle and the goal. With Paris St.-Germain jerseys slung over their shoulders, the spoils of battle, they clapped each other on the back, they exchanged high-fives, they ruffled each others’ hair. Most of all, though, they waited for him to have his moment.

A few yards ahead, Erling Haaland stood in front of the Yellow Wall, the soaring South stand of Signal Iduna Park. Just after Christmas, he had finally decided to join Borussia Dortmund — picking the club from a long, slavering queue of would-be suitors, ranging from Manchester United to RB Leipzig — in part because of the prospect of playing in front of what is, arguably, the most iconic terrace in European soccer.

The support of the Yellow Wall forms a considerable part of Dortmund’s sales pitch. Haaland had, by all accounts, long hoped to experience it. Now here he was, 51 days later, basking in its adulation. He applauded it, a little. He raised his arms above his head in celebration. He offered a thumbs-up. Mostly, he just stared.

In return, the thousands of fans in front of him, the bricks of the Yellow Wall, showered him with love. In deference to what he had just done, his teammates waited. They let him take the acclaim. Only when Axel Witsel could wait no longer, when he just had to start dancing, did they start to join Haaland. Until then, it was all about him. He has that ability: the capacity to make everyone else a bystander.

Erling Braut Haaland celebrates with Giovanni Reyna after the match. (REUTERS)

Haaland’s start to life at Dortmund has, frankly, been a little unrealistic. So too, for that matter, has been his first season in the Champions League. There is clearly a glitch in the system somewhere, a fault in the algorithm. This is, after all, the most exclusive tournament in world soccer. It is the highest level of the game.

It is an aspiration, a dream, the ultimate test. Players spend years hoping to have a chance to play in the competition; many of the finest of their generation will end their careers without ever having made quite the impression on it that they might had hoped. Haaland — still only 19, still a touch raw, still learning — is making it all look suspiciously easy.

He scored a hat-trick in his first game in the Champions League, back in September, back when he was still playing for Red Bull Salzburg. He scored in his next four games in the competition, too; only Liverpool, in his sixth Champions League match, stopped his run.

Then he moved to Dortmund. He was a substitute in his first game for his new club. He came on in the 56th minute. Twenty-three minutes later, he had scored a hat-trick. He scored two more in his next game. The following week, he scored twice in his first start. He currently has eight goals in five appearances in the Bundesliga.

ALSO READ | Sensational Erling Haaland gives Borussia Dortmund 2-1 win over PSG in Champions League

The last 16 of the Champions League was supposed to be a step up, of course, a challenge of another magnitude. PSG is, after all, one of the most expensive teams ever built. It is a team rated — perhaps a little self-servingly — as the favourite to win the tournament by Jürgen Klopp, the manager of the reigning champion, Liverpool. Asking a teenager to carry the fight to a defense of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe felt like a bold call from Lucien Favre, Dortmund’s coach.

Those who know Haaland, though, those who have tracked his career from its beginnings in Norway, say that he possesses a rare calm, a sort of beatific single-mindedness. He is fazed by little, or nothing. He betrays not a flicker of nervousness. He is not the sort to worry that he does not belong.

READ | Erling Haaland: The baby-faced Terminator lighting it up for Dortmund

Strikers considerably more experienced than him might, perhaps, have grown a little frustrated Tuesday in a first half that was a little more cagey than most expected. Dortmund has won countless admirers in recent years for its sense of adventure, its risk-taking, its dynamism. It has long had a fatal flaw, though: a tendency toward self-immolation, an ability to scupper itself at any given moment.

It is a trait shared by PSG, at least in the Champions League. The French champion’s attack is fearsome — so good that it could afford to leave Edinson Cavani and Mauro Icardi on the bench at Dortmund — but it is not quite good enough to mask what is more a psychological vulnerability than anything else: invariably, PSG seems to melt in the white heat of the competition it has been built to win.

This was, then, supposed to be one of those wild games that occur ever more frequently in this tournament, all breakneck counterattacking and slapstick defending. That was what everyone wanted to see — nine goals here, split the difference, head back to Paris in three weeks to do it all again — with two notable exceptions: Favre and Thomas Tuchel, PSG’s coach.

It is significant that the coaches of two of Europe’s most expansive teams decided, when the stakes were high, that caution had to come first. Both played with a back five, and two holding midfielders. Both, uncharacteristically, chose to mask their weaknesses, rather than accentuate their strengths.

For more than an hour, the stalemate held: PSG had the possession, Dortmund tried to strike on the break. Haaland, starved of opportunities, stuck to his job: he chased and harried; he took up his pressing positions; he sniffed around for chances. He did not lose heart. He did not lose focus. His moment was coming. Or rather, his moments.

The first strike, to open the scoring, was pure predator: that rare ability that strikers have to somehow turn up at the right place and the right time, stretching out a leg, lifting the ball over Keylor Navas. But it was the second, after Neymar had tied the score, that shook the Yellow Wall. Darting on to a pass from Giovanni Reyna, the 17-year-old American thrown on as a substitute, taking a touch, and then sending a left-footed shot screeching past Navas.

That was Haaland’s 10th goal in seven Champions League games this season. It was his 11th in his time at Dortmund. Raw data, though, is an unsatisfactory metric to communicate what made it so special: it was the power of the shot, how early he took it, the certainty with which he did so. Haaland has only just arrived — in Dortmund, in the Champions League — but he already knows he belongs. His teammates sensed it, too. This, now, is his moment. There is nothing else to do but let him enjoy it.

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Ishant Sharma will add new dynamic to Indian bowling attack: Ross Taylor

By: PTI | Wellington |

Published: February 19, 2020 3:06:47 pm





Ishant Sharma will add a fresh dimension to India’s bowling attack. (File Photo)

A fit-again Ishant Sharma will add a fresh dimension to India’s bowling attack, says seasoned New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor, who foresees trouble for his team if it focusses only on tackling Jasprit Bumrah during the upcoming Test series.

Taylor is only two days away from becoming the first cricketer to play 100 games across formats. Less than three weeks away from his 36th birthday, he has already competed in 231 ODIs and 100 T20 Internationals.

“I think if we just look at Bumrah, we are in trouble. I think their whole bowling lineup is fantastic. Obviously, Sharma coming back will bring new dynamics to the team,” Taylor told reporters on Wednesday.

READ | Wind to be the crucial factor in first Test at Wellington

Ishant is returning to the Indian squad after recovering from an ankle injury sustained during a Ranji Trophy clash last month. “They have got a world-class batting line-up as well and we have to get through that. But they are the No. 1 team in the world for a reason and we know we have to be on our game to be successful against them,” he added.

On the eve of his milestone, would Taylor look back at his early days, especially the setbacks? “Yeah, I think so. That shapes you as a person and as a player,” he agreed instantly. Sometimes it’s not necessarily the runs you get and the good times. It’s how you deal with failures along the way that shape you as a person, as the way you go about your training, as a teammate. Sometimes it’s the negative things that make you stronger and more resilient, and that’s what you need to be a Test player,” said Taylor.

Had the Christchurch Test against Bangladesh not been cancelled due to the terror attack at the mosque, Taylor would have played his 100th Test in Sydney against Australia last year. It eventually became his 99th and he couldn’t be happier to play the big game in front of friends and family.

“David White (NZC CEO) comes in and gives us a talk about what games are coming up and you start doing the math and he actually says Ross, it’s going to be your 100th Test in Sydney. But obviously what happened in Christchurch last year with the shootings at the mosque had moved things back a game. But then, things happen for a reason, I believe, and it’s nice for it to happen back home. I don’t know how many people would have travelled to Sydney for it. So it’s nice for it to be here.”

READ | There’s nothing Kane Williamson can’t

He has already got messages from former teammates Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum. “I just got a call from Brendon before we got here saying all the best. He said ‘do better than what I did’, I don’t know what he got in his 100th game. I asked if there was any tip on how to deal with tickets and things like that,” he laughed.

“I got a message from Vettori as well last night. Obviously, it is a special club to join and it’s nice to hear from fellow players who have been there and done that.”

So does he have enough tickets at his disposal? “I don’t know if I have enough tickets for them all, they are all coming out of the woodwork! All the old coaches and things like that. This is just to thank them for all the sacrifices they have made,” he said.

In the twilight of his career, the thought of retirement has crossed his mind once but that was long back when he had set the 2019 ODI World Cup as a deadline for himself. But then he thought he still had something left in his tank and hasn’t till date disappointed his fans.

“I always said to myself, 2019 World Cup wasn’t a bad place to start thinking about that ‘R’ word. But I still I am good enough and have a lot more to offer this team both on and off the field. I am still as hungry as ever to score runs. After my first series, I wouldn’t have been putting much money on myself to be playing 100 Tests, that’s for sure. I am happy with what has happened,” he added.

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India, Australia most impressive teams in Women’s T20 World Cup: Brett Lee

By: PTI | Melbourne |

Published: February 19, 2020 2:17:17 pm





Brett Lee feels women cricket can reach another level in this World Cup (File photo)

Former pace ace Brett Lee feels India and Australia look to be the two most impressive teams in the upcoming Women’s T20 World Cup, which has the potential to take women’s cricket to the next level.

The tournament starts on Friday with India taking on Australia. Writing for ICC’s official website, Lee offered his perspective on what the tournament means for women’s cricket.

“Women’s cricket could reach the next level in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 and I’m incredibly proud that Australia will play host to this historic tournament,” Lee said.

“The first game at the Sydney Showground between Australia and India could really set a tone for the tournament, with a match-up between two of the most impressive teams in the game,” he added.

The showpiece event will be played out in six venues across Sydney, Perth, Canberra and Melbourne.

“These grounds are among the best in the world, for both players and fans, and the power and artistry that comes with women’s cricket will be fantastic to watch,” Lee said.

“Each game and ground will provide a brilliant spectacle but there is something even more special about the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the home of my first five-wicket haul on Test debut for Australia,” he added.

Lee said he has been pleasantly surprised by the growth of women’s cricket world over.

“…women’s cricket has continued to pleasantly surprise me and proven that these challenges are achievable.

“Whether it’s at the MCG or the venues around Australia, the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 is a chance to be a part of history, creating memories which will stay with people for generations,” he said.

ALSO READ | We are the happiest team at T20 World Cup, Thailand distant second: Smriti Mandhana

Talking about the Indian team, Lee said he would be following the side’s progress keenly.

“With Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues and Shafali Verma in their batting unit, we’ll also need to keep a close eye on India, a side who are set to add a fourth dimension to this tournament,” he said.

“…if the tournament is able to reach its predicted new heights, then the sky really is the limit,” he added.

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We are the happiest team at T20 World Cup, Thailand distant second: Smriti Mandhana


Published: February 19, 2020 1:13:19 pm





Smriti Mandhana has been in red-hot form ahead of Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 (File photo)

India are not just among the strongest contenders for the Women’s T20 World Cup but the youthful exuberance also makes them the happiest team in the tournament, says swashbuckling opener Smriti Mandhana.

The Indian squad’s average is under 23. Ahead of the tournament opener against Australia here on Friday, Mandhana joked that only debutants Thailand can give them competition when it comes to having fun.

“This group really knows how to have fun. It’s about making the young players feel comfortable and I’ve become one with them. We have a lot of dances, a lot of singing and a lot of things that happen,” Mandhana was quoted as saying by the ICC.

“I think we’re the happiest team at the World Cup – although Thailand might give us some competition,” she quipped.

The leader of the ‘cool pack’ is Jemimah Rodrigues, who is known for making funny videos and is also a decent guitar player. One would often see the players turning the dressing room into a dance floor.

“You can think of the vibe if you see the age of our team. With that kind of age group, there has to be fun and if there’s no fun there’s something wrong with the girls.

“It’s been like that for the last one or two years. I won’t say it wasn’t like that in the years before but since the teenagers have come, there is a different energy,” said the 23-year-old Mandhana.

ALSO READ | Women’s T20 World Cup 2020: All the numbers that matter before the bash Down Under

“Young players come into it with fresh thinking, they don’t have anything behind them. They know nothing. They’re very different people to we were when we came into the side at 17.

“They are very fearless, they don’t have a lot of pressure on them.”

The teenagers — Rodrigues, Shafali Verma and new entrant Richa Ghosh — contribute immensely to the high spirits of the team.

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Virat Kohli says he will play all three formats for at least ‘a rigorous three years’


Published: February 19, 2020 12:05:36 pm





Virat Kohli has scored 735 runs from 13 innings in New Zealand including two centuries and three half-centuries at an average of 66.81 (PTI file photo)

Indian skipper Virat Kohli said he will continue to play all three formats of the game for at least three more years and then take a decision on his workload as he approaches retirement.

“My mindset is on the bigger picture as I prepare myself for a rigorous three years from now and after that we might have a different conversation,” Kohli said in a press conference ahead of the first Test against New Zealand starting Friday.

The Indian captain did not shy away from a question about workload management.

“It’s not a conversation you can hide away from in any manner. It is around eight years now that I have been playing 300 days a year, which includes travelling and practice sessions. And intensity is right up there all the time. It does take a toll on you,” the batsman said.

The No.1 Test batsman feels that the next phase of his transition will start after the 2023 World Cup.

“I can keep going on with the same intensity and also understand that the team wants a lot of my contribution in the next two to three years, so that I can ease into another transition that we faced five-six years ago,” he said referring to the retirements of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.

ALSO READ | Virat Kohli rates World Test Championship above any other ICC tournament

Kohli hints at playing XI

With Rohit Sharma suffering an injury in the T20I series, an opener’s slot has opened up for India’s Under-19 World Cup 2018 heroes Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill. However, the skipper hinted that Shaw is more likely to open the innings alongside Mayank Agarwal.

“Prithvi is a talented player and he has his own game and we want him to follow his instincts and play the way he does. Look, these guys have no baggage and are not desperate to perform in any manner,” he said.

Kohli also hinted at picking fit-again Ishant Sharma on a pacer-friendly Wellington pitch.

“He (Ishant) looked pretty normal and pretty similar to what he was bowling before the ankle injury. He is hitting good areas again and he has played (Test cricket) in New Zealand couple of times, so his experience will be useful to us. It was really good to see him bowling with pace and in good areas,” Kohli backed the veteran bowler.

ALSO READ | Wind to be the crucial factor in first Test at Wellington

He also revealed that he will go into the first Test of the two-Test series with one spinner in the side.

“If it had been a Johannesburg pitch, I could have said it’s a possibility (to play four pacers) but our team has that skill that we can bowl out other teams with only three fast bowlers,” he sounded confident.

“But you need one world class skillful spinner, who can take wickets on any pitch. We won’t copy the home team. We would rather figure out what is the most lethal combination, which gives us balance,” he added.

Kohli also lauded the current bowling attack as they have dominated the batsmen at home in the seven World Test Championship matches.

“As a bowling group it’s better than the one that came to NZ last time and that is why we have got so many teams all out in last two and half years. We would like to repeat that here also,” Kohli added.

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Virat Kohli rates World Test Championship above any other ICC tournament

By: Sports Desk |

Published: February 19, 2020 11:12:12 am





Virat Kohli Test Rankings, ICC Test Rankings Virat Kohli, Test Rankings, Virat Kohli Test Rankings, Latest Test Rankings Virat Kohli are set to play their first away Test in the ongoing World Test Championship (AP file photo)

Indian skipper Virat Kohli rated the World Test Championship above any other International Cricket Council (ICC) event despite the cricketing body focusing more on white-ball cricket in proposed 2023-2031 Future Tours Programmer (FTP) cycle. As per the proposed FTP cycle, apart from ODI World Cup and T20I World Cup, the ICC also aims to have a T20I and ODI Champions Cup.

“I think World Test Championship as an ICC tournament should be right up there. All the other tournaments for me they start under that. This is probably the biggest of them all as every team wants to make it to the final at the Lord’s. We are no different.

“We are in that zone. We want to make sure that we qualify as soon as we can and be in that frame of mind to hopefully win that (championship),” said Kohli in a press conference on Wednesday ahead of the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington.

Kohli feels that World Test Championship has made Test cricket more exciting despite the Indian team not having played much cricket away from home.

“It has made Test cricket more exciting and that’s something we have experienced as a side although we haven’t had too many games away from home. A couple of games in the West Indies and we haven’t had a tour of Australia as a part of Test Championship. This is our first away tour since the start of home season,” said Kohli.

ALSO READ | Wind to be the crucial factor in first Test at Wellington

The 31-year-old expects the two-Test series against New Zealand to be a gruelling contest.

“Games will be intense and teams will go for wins rather than settling for draws which is what we need to see in Test cricket. The South Africa versus England series was very exciting. England won the Cape Town Test in the final hour and you will see lot more results like that because there are lot more points in line,” he said.

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