Indian team skipper Virat Kohli felt that winning the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand is not the ultimate goal for him as a captain. Along with the head coach Ravi Shastri he spoke to the media before India's men's team embark on a four-month-long tour, which begins with the WTC final from June 18-22, followed by a five-match Test series against England from August 4 to September 14.
Kohli, who led India to their first series victory in Australia in 2018-19, said the WTC final is not the final frontier as the team's desire to win remains constant.
"Don't think this is the final frontier or anything. We have worked hard to reach here. For us, it's about keeping those standards hard. It's like football, if you win one Champions League, you don't stop, you just want to keep winning,".
"This holds a lot of value. All of us take a lot of pride in playing Test cricket. This is like an accumulation of hard work for all of us. Just very happy to play in the finals," Kohli added.
"In terms of magnitude, I think this is one of the biggest ever games, if not the biggest ever. It's the toughest form of cricket. It has happened over two years where teams have played each other and earned their stripes," head coach Ravi Shastri said.
Shastri also suggested that a best-of-three final would be a great addition to the future editions of the WTC.
"I think in the longer run of things, a best of three final would be great as a culmination of playing for two years," he said.
Shastri on a parallel series in Sri Lanka
While Kohli's men will be busy with their preparations for England Tests, a second Indian team coached by Rahul Dravid is set to tour Sri Lanka in July for three ODIs and three T20s. Indian head coach Ravi Shastri felt that the presence of a second team could become a norm to increase the popularity of the sport.
“At the moment it is happening because of the current situation with restrictions in travel. But you never know, in the future if you want to expand the game, especially in the shorter formats of the game then it could be the way forward. Why not?” Shastri said. “If you want to spread the T20 game then that could be the way ahead. If you are thinking about Olympics in 4 or 8 years’ time then you need more countries to play the game,” he added.
Kohli on mental health
Kohli also stressed on the importance of mental health among players as living in bio-bubble environment can be taxing.
"With the current structure and the kind of structure we're competing inside, to be very honest for a long period of time it's very difficult for the players to stay motivated and find the right kind of mental space, you know, just confined in one area and just doing the stuff day in and day out and dealing with high-pressure situations," he said.
The 32-year old also said that the team management has left the option open for players to take a break from the sport due to mental health reasons.
"I think there has to always be that channel open, which the management has left it open, for the players to approach them and tell them 'look I'm not feeling right in the head and I just need a little break and I just want to disconnect from the game' I think that's going to be a huge factor and I'm sure Ravi bhai and the management feel the same," he said.
Kohli also felt that the gap of nearly five weeks between the WTC final and the first Test against England is a great opportunity for the team to relax.
"Well I feel like after you are done with the WTC, I think it's a great opportunity to refresh, restructure. Hopefully, if things are ok, out in England we would have finished our quarantine periods and just for the guys to be normal for a few days, disconnect again," he said.