Virat Kohli's Indian cricket team was touted as one of the favourites in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. After losing only one out of the nine league games in the tournament, Kohli's India took on a determined New Zealand side led by Kane Williamson in the semi-final. However, India ended up on the wrong side of the result as they lost by 18 runs to be eliminated in the knock-out stages for the fifth consecutive time. Brushing aside the disappointment of the World Cup exit, Kohli's side embarks on a tour of West Indies which will feature three T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests. The two-Test series will be the second in the new World Test Championship, with the first being the Ashes contest between England and Australia.
In an exclusive interview to Times of India, Virat Kohli has said the Test championship is coming at a right time for cricket as it gives every series more importance and relevance. "It’s very exciting. I think it’s happening at the right time for Test cricket. Although you are going to play a bilateral series, the meaning and importance are way more. You have to plan for every series. I was excited about something of this sort and now it is coming to life," Kohli said.
With India now looking ahead to future challenges in a post-World Cup scenario, the focus will be on building the team for the next few ICC events. With the seniors now playing the role of mentors, the focus will be on youngsters. Kohli had nothing but praise for the new crop of youngsters in Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill. Pant is the No.1 choice keeper for the West Indies series across formats while Iyer and Gill will be aiming to consolidate their position in the No.4 spot, something that has troubled India for the last couple of years.
"They are amazing. The level of confidence that they have is amazing to see. As I have mentioned so many times before, at 19-20, we were not even half the players these guys are. Skills have developed because of exposure to tournaments like the IPL. It's the best thing that can happen to a cricketer. They are so confident by the time they come here (national team) that they learn very quickly from their mistakes," Kohli said.
The skipper also spoke about the current dynamics of the dressing room and highlighted the friendly atmosphere, stating there was no shouting between members. "Daantne wala mahaul ab toh change room mein hai hi nahin (the culture of scolding people isn’t there in the change room now). As friendly as I am with Kuldeep, I am friendly with MS Dhoni. The atmosphere is such that anyone can say anything to anyone. I am like walking up to people and telling them, 'dekh, maine yeh galtiya kari hain, tu mat kar' (Look, I have committed these mistakes, make sure you don't do them)," Kohli said.