World Cup 2019: Virat Kohli stresses on four-titude
Skipper Virat Kohli says facing top sides like South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan first up in the World Cup will ensure every player will be at his intense best
It's not been the best of times for Virat Kohli the captain over the last few months. While India lost the ODI series to Australia 2-3, Kohli had a nightmarish IPL with Royal Challengers Bangalore, losing their first six games to finish last on the points table.
However, the IPL-12 experience was one of Kohli's biggest learnings of captaincy where one has, in his own words, "to accept things the way they are." Known to have supreme control over things, Kohli the leader will be back in India colours to help the country win their third World Cup.
Team India will arrive in England almost a fortnight before their opening World Cup match on June 5. Though this will help to settle nerves and anxiety, come match day, the pressure will be palpable at The Rose Bowl in Southampton. In a tournament where all 10 teams are possible contenders for the coveted trophy, handling pressure is probably the key factor.
Kohli's boys will be put to the test almost straightaway with four tough matches [South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan] to begin their campaign. Instead of fretting about facing top teams up front in the tournament, skipper Kohli said yesterday that tough matches will eliminate any room for complacency if at all it is present. "The best thing is that we have four tough games straight up. It sets up things nicely. Everyone has to be at their best, gain intensity from the first match itself and you don't have any room for complacency. That is why it is the World Cup and that is why it is the most important tournament in the world. We expect that kind of pressure from the first second of stepping on the field," said Kohli hours before the team's departure.
"We have to arrive on the day match-ready, [with] absolutely 100 per cent match intensity and start building from there. That is the challenge." With the World Cup being played in the land of football, Kohli brought up Pele's Beautiful Game at yesterday's media interaction. "If you look at the top-class football clubs in the world, in the Premier League or in the La Liga, they maintain their intensity for three to four months. If we get on a roll and we maintain our consistency, we should be able to do it for the length of the tournament," he said.
'Be as normal as possible'
With expectations building around the Men in Blue to win back the World Cup, Kohli is clear on what will take his team through. "A team that does well in the World Cup is the one that can handle the pressure well. And secondly, try and be as normal as possible. Looking at the magnitude of the games, the team that stays more focused and more balanced is the team that goes a long way in the tournament, so our focus is that," he said.
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
Shikhar Dhawan's emotional message on leaving the World Cup 2019