“It is not going to reflect anything for people who genuinely understand the game,” says Virat Kohli, as India prepares to face New Zealand in the World Test Championship final.
India captain Virat Kohli chose the eve of the inaugural World Test Championship final to pour cold water on the concept, suggesting a one-off winner holds little value “for people who really understand the game”.
Kohli’s team will face New Zealand in the showpiece match at the Ageas Bowl on Friday, with the winner becoming the sport’s first-ever ‘Test champions’ and pocketing £1.16 million in prize money.
It is the result of a two-year qualification process, but the concept has been floating about for much longer, having been conceived as a means to increase the relevance and enthusiasm surrounding the regular five-day format.
Kohli, who brings A-list splendour and 127 million Instagram followers with him, is exactly the type of frontman the International Cricket Council hoped for, but his pre-match presentation was rather low-key.
Rather than fanning the flames of an event, he looked to be undermining the entire essence of the winner-take-all shootout.
“If you’re talking about Test cricket and judging who the best side in the world is based on one game over five days, that’s not the reality of the truth,” he added.
“It will not reflect anything for individuals who truly understand the game and are aware of what has occurred over the previous four or five years and how the teams have performed.” Cricket does not stop for us if you win this game; if you lose this game, cricket does not stop for us.
“This is just another Test match that needs to be played, in my opinion. From the outside, I believe these things are really thrilling… it becomes a ‘do or die situation. We have been on a journey for excellence as a team for some time now, and we will continue to remain on that road regardless of what happens in this game.”
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