Wellington: India skipper Virat Kohli believes that his team will need to have a “lot more concentration on the field” and be at their absolute best when they take on New Zealand in the first Test of the two-match series beginning Friday at the Basin Reserve.
Talking to reporters after the pre-series photo session on Wednesday, Kohli insisted that his team has prepared their fitness and concentration levels in such a manner that they can now compete against any opposition in the world.
“We have prepared in a manner where our fitness levels and concentration levels are such that we can compete against anyone in the world,” Kohli was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz. “That’s the kind of confidence we will carry into this series.”
The 31-year-old further said unlike Australia and England, opposition teams don’t have to deal too much with the crowd and all they need to is focus on the on-field activities.
“Not saying this in a negative manner, but the crowd plays a massive role in England and Australia. You need to be in a zone where you need to be feisty and counter that from all angles,” he said.
“In New Zealand it’s all about cricket discipline and what the team brings on the field,” he added.
The Indian skipper acknowledged the fact that New Zealand cricketers, apart from being skilled in all aspects of the game, are very fit and intense and have the ability to test the patience of the opposition throughout the course of the day. They’re very intense and very fit guys and they can keep going all day and test your patience.
“They’re very skilled bowlers and batsmen and brilliant fielders so they don’t give a lot to bank on or pounce on. You need to be wary of the chances that come your way and be focused enough to capitalise.
“It takes a lot more concentration on the field in New Zealand rather than dealing with things off the field and that’s good for the players to be in that kind of zone.”
Having said that, Kohli believes Team India have a very complete squad with skilled batters and pacers.
The Virat Kohli-led side, who are at the top of the World Test Championship table with 360 points, will resume their campaign against New Zealand, who are at the sixth spot with 60 points. The Kiwis had lost their last Test series in Australia where they were whitewashed in the three-match rubber.
India, on the other hand, had blanked Bangladesh in the two-Test series — which also included their first-ever pink-ball Test.
However, Kohli believes New Zealand’s thrashing in Australia will have a very little bearing in the two-Test series.
“It can happen. Kane’s leadership was questioned and these things pop up pretty quickly. Having been in those situations myself I can tell you it’s not that alarming for any team,” said Kohli.
“Things can turn around pretty quickly. You saw in the ODI series we lost 3-0 and it didn’t look that way before we started. If you gain momentum at the right time you can play good cricket.
“Playing at home they will have more control over what they do as a group so they will understand their plans much better,” he added.