We will be ready for England: Kohli

Indian captain Virat Kohli at a press conference ahead of the team's departure for England and Ireland, in New Delhi on Friday. PTI

New Delhi: Captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri believe Indian cricket is going through a “great phase” as they head to a crucial tour of England.

Their previous visit to England in 2014 was a forgettable one, losing three and winning one of the five Tests, but Kohli stressed India were eager to play “difficult cricket” and it was time people moved on from the past.

The team will leave on Saturday to play a two-match T20I series in Ireland followed by three T20Is, three ODIs and five Tests against England.

“I think a lot of people have held on to the last tour for too long," Kohli said. "We've had the Champions Trophy as well which has totally been forgotten -- I don't think that was in Bangladesh. I was asked this question when we reached England – what are you looking forward to and I said taking a walk and having coffee on the street.

"My thinking is very different when I go on a tour. I literally am looking forward to enjoying the country, am not even thinking of the cricket. I know if I'm in a good zone, I will play well. If I think like how people are thinking on the outside, then things don't happen.

“You don't want to go to England saying, 'Oh the Test series is in one month'. We want it to actually be sooner. That's the kind of excitement we take along with us. It's the same case with the ODIs and the T20s. It's just a great phase for Indian cricket."

Shastri noted that beginning with the shorter formats first would be "ideal" for them, giving them a month to acclimatise to the conditions. Kohli concurred. “By the time the Tests come, we'll be so comfortable that we won't even feel like we'll be playing an away series”

Shastri went a step further and said they were not viewing it as an away series. “We don't play the opponent, we play the pitch. It is 22 yards we have to try and conquer. It's not a question of where you're playing, for us every game has to be a home game."

Kohli emphasised how India were keen to play difficult cricket. "I think we're one of the teams who are looking forward to other countries and playing. We are looking forward to playing difficult cricket. It can be anywhere, even in India, because that is the only way we feel we'll be able to test ourselves as a team and judge ourselves as players and as a team.”

"When we were playing the Test series in South Africa, after a couple of Tests, people really thought we were outplayed. And then we won the third (Test) and won the (ODI and T20) series that followed," he said.

‘Fit to play’

The 29-year-old Kohli, hampered by a neck injury during the Indian Premier League which led to his pullout from the highly anticipated county stint with Surrey, insisted he was now fully fit. "I wanted to experience the conditions in England, but in hindsight, I'm glad I didn't go there while I wasn't fully fit. It's better to be even 90 percent fit and skip. I am at 110 percent and ready to go," Kohli said.

DH News Service

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We will be ready for England: Kohli

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