October 25, 2021

India captain Virat Kohli says it is down to players to keep Test cricket alive

August 03, 2021

India captain Virat Kohli says it is incumbent on players to ensure the survival of Test cricket as he prepares to face England in a five-match series.

Kohli's men meet Joe Root's team in the first Test at Trent Bridge from Wednesday, with the sides squaring off in the format for the second time this year after India won 3-1 at home across February and March, having fought back from 1-0 down.

The India skipper says his passion for Test cricket will never fade and hopes his peers cherish the game just as much to ensure it is not lost from the calendar amid the boom in white-ball cricket.

Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports commentator and fellow Indian cricketer Dinesh Karthik in an interview you can watch in full on Sky Sports during the first Test, Kohli said. "Test cricket probably would have been in trouble, say, three years back, but I think it's the players that keep Test cricket alive. It depends on the quality of cricket.

"To be honest, if we didn't have the mindset to play Test cricket and be so passionate about it, that would have given a huge blow to Test cricket all over the world.

"The World Test Championship is a very positive move as there is everything at stake in every Test match you play - but it all depends on what the players want from Test cricket.

"If it is looked at as a format where you don't want to put in effort for five days, there is no survival.

"If watching on television people feel like, 'I don't want to miss a ball because these 11 guys are going to go at these 11 guys for five days to get a result', that is what will keep Test cricket alive.

"I feel there is not enough motivation from people towards Test cricket - that's what I observe and why you can very well see teams invariably give up very easily and don't find ways to get back into the game.

"I don't know about the mindset of other people but for me this is the absolute pinnacle of the game. I will give everything to Test cricket for the time I play, I can assure you of that."

Kohli is aiming to steer India - second only to World Test Championship winners New Zealand in the ICC Test rankings - to a first Test series victory in England since 2007.

The 32-year-old - part of the India sides beaten 3-1 and 4-1 in England in 2014 and 2018 respectively - says it will take "relentless madness and pursuit of excellence every day" for his team to triumph.

However, he is not placing the series above any other and says the most important thing for him is that his team continue to play with the positive mindset he demands.

On winning in England, Kohli added: "It takes relentless madness and pursuit of excellence every day over a five-Test series

"To tell yourself 'I want to do the hard work and get into situations that are tough'. You have to be ready for that kind of workload and mental load.

"For me personally, it means nothing more to me than winning a Test match or a Test series anywhere else in the world. These are not anecdotes or milestones in my career.

"We are looking to win every Test match and that's what matters more to me. That's a culture, these are results.

"For Indian cricket, yes, it would be a huge thing. We have done it before and we can do it again, but this culture is what is more dear to me.

"Even if we lose a Test match, I want us to go for the win and not surrender or try and save a Test match on day three or day four. That is just not acceptable."

Watch the first Test between England and India live on Sky Sports The Hundred and Sky Sports Main Event from 10am on Wednesday.

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