Kohli sets sights on ‘one big game’ to win World Test Championship **EDS: SCREENSHOT FROM VIDEO POSTED BY @BCCI ON THURSDAY, FEB. 25, 2021** Ahmedabad: Indian bowler R Ashwin being greeted by skipper Virat Kohli on completing 400 test wickets, on the second day of the 3rd cricket test match between India and England, at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Ashwin became the fastest Indian bowler to 400 Test wickets. (PTI Photo) (PTI02_25_2021_000227B)
Skipper Virat Kohli said India were “relieved” to make the inaugural World Test Championship final and would now focus on that “one big game” against New Zealand in June after seeing off England.
India crushed Joe Root’s side inside three days in the fourth Test in Ahmedabad on Saturday to clinch the series 3-1 and finish top of the Test Championship table ahead of New Zealand.
India had led the standings until November, when a change in the points system because of coronavirus disruptions promoted Australia to top spot.
“We are relieved that now we have made it to the final,” Kohli told BCCI TV.
“Probably if you look at the last two-and-half years how we have played, we deserve to be in that final.
“Now it’s just about getting together as a group again and focusing on that one big game which is quite exciting for all of us.”
New Zealand’s spot in the final was secured when the Test series between South Africa and Australia was postponed last month.
– ‘Under pressure’ –
India coach Ravi Shastri questioned the decision of the International Cricket Council to change the points system midway into the Test Championship.
The new method, based on percentage of points instead of total points, left India needing to win the Test series away in Australia and the one at home against England to make the final.
“Please don’t shift the goalposts midstream,” Shastri told reporters when asked about the next World Test Championship, describing the points system change as abrupt.
But he added: “I cannot say how proud I am of my Indian cricket team. Going through this tough period and qualifying against all odds when you go from number one to number three.”
Kohli had maintained that the championship race was merely a “distraction” for his team, who did not need any further incentive to win Test matches.
India made the final after bouncing back from opening losses in two series — winning 2-1 Down Under and beating England 3-1 at home.
The games threw up new heroes, most notably wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who played a key part in the Australia series, and hit 101 on Friday to set up India’s latest victory over England.
Pace bowler Mohammed Siraj, all-rounder Washington Sundar and spinner Axar Patel also burst into the side, making an immediate impact.
India overcame adversity, including being bundled out for a Test low of 36 to lose the series opener in Adelaide, the departure of Virat Kohli on paternity leave and a succession of injuries to senior players, to level the series in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
A draw in Sydney followed before a patched-up India inflicted an astonishing first Test defeat on Australia at Brisbane’s Gabba ground for 32 years to win the series.
“We played cricket well in India, we played cricket well outside India as well,” said batting star Rohit Sharma.
“We were put under pressure, we were put in that difficult situation many a time and we responded well which is why we stand here qualified for the final.”
The ICC had initially announced that the final will be played at Lord’s in June.
But the Times of India, citing ICC sources, reported Saturday that match scheduled to begin June 18 could be moved to a different venue.