T20 World Cup 2021: Kohli opens up on his decision to leave T20I captaincy, playing in bio-bubble, and pitches in UAE

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T20 World Cup 2021: Kohli opens up on his decision to leave T20I captaincy, playing in bio-bubble, and pitches in UAE
© Provided by Firstpost T20 World Cup 2021: Kohli opens up on his decision to leave T20I captaincy, playing in bio-bubble, and pitches in UAE

Virat Kohli has refused to talk anymore about the reasons behind his decision to quit India’s T20I captaincy after the ongoing World Cup. Kohli’s made the announcement last month a few days before also deciding to quit Royal Challengers Bangalore captaincy after IPL 2021.

While Kohli’s decision took everyone by surprise, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly recently said that the India captain was under no pressure from the board to step down from his post.

With a lot of theories floating around about the reason for such a decision, skipper Kohli said that he is not ready to add fuel to fire.

“I have already explained myself a lot and I don’t think I need to harp on that anymore,” Kohli said when asked the reason to announce it before the T20 World Cup.

“Our focus is to play well in this World Cup and do what we need to do as a team. Rest people are trying to dig up things that doesn’t exist and I am not someone who is ever going to give fodder to that,” Kohli, who was a visibly irritated at the question, said.

“I have explained myself very honestly and openly and if people feel there’s more to it than what I have already told, I feel pretty bad for them. That’s certainly not the case.”

Kohli also said that players need “periodic breaks” from bio-bubble life to refresh themselves as he advocated a balanced approach while dealing with the circumstances arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kohli said risking players’ well-being “to cover up” lack of cricket due to the pandemic will not benefit the game.

“It’s necessary to have a balanced approach, it’s important to give players periodic breaks, where they can get mentally refreshed and come into the environment, where they can again compete, this is important, Kohli said at the pre-match press conference ahead of India’s clash against arch-rivals Pakistan in their T20 World Cup opening match.

“Going forward, it’s necessary this thing needs to be considered. I understand that for a long-time cricket has not happened in the world, but to cover up that if you ask a player to risk, I don’t think world cricket will benefit from it,” he added.

Mental stress associated with strict bio-bubble life has been a hot topic of discussion worldwide. It has affected a lot of players across international teams.

Stressing that one cannot tell where an individual is placed mentally in a bio-bubble, Kohli said the team management needs communication with the players in this regard.

“Players need to be communicated where they are placed, what they want. You cannot tell who is mentally at which stage individually in a bio-bubble. If you see 5-6 people (players) happy, you cannot determine that all 15-16 people (players) are feeling the same way.”

Kohli, however, said a tournament like the ongoing T20 World Cup gives players motivation.

“The good thing is we have just played the IPL with eight teams, every day was a new challenge, you are involved as the tournament builds up in order to achieve your goal,” said Kohli.

“World Cup gives you different motivation being a multinational tournament. you have the opportunity to face many international sides whom you may not have faced before. So, new challenges come up that help you keep your focus intact.

“But going forward, it (stress due to bio-bubble life) is important to consider that,” he added.

Talking about the pitches in UAE for T20 World Cup, Kohli said he is expecting better pitches as compared to the ones on offer during the recently-concluded IPL where stroke-making became difficult for batters.

Kohli, who led RCB for the last time in the IPL, had plied his trade on all the tracks and feels that the ICC will present the teams with better strips than those during the lucrative T20 league.

Asked if he sees the nature of tracks changing, the Indian captain answered in the affirmative.

“I believe so. Looking at the IPL final, I believe that quality of pitches definitely is going to be far better in this T20 World Cup,” Kohli said.

The normal rules for ICC events will also play their part in improved playing conditions. India will play four out of their five group league games in Dubai with the match against Afghanistan being held in Abu Dhabi.

“Also being an ICC tournament, we know that standard of pitches is going to be maintained up to a certain degree which is consistent across all venues.

“I knew that to protect the pitches for a tournament like World Cup, there had to be some compromise in playing conditions when we played the IPL. We all understood that and wicket in the IPL final (between CSK and KKR) was very very good,” he explained.

Kohli also agreed that the dew factor will be prominent as the tournament progresses.

“Dew factor will be prominent as we head into this time of the year in Dubai. That is also going to help the pitches play much better.

“I believe Abu Dhabi and Dubai are going to be best pitches out of all the venues. Sharjah more or less will stay more or less true to its nature, which is slow and low and I don’t see myself too many high scoring matches,” Kohli said.

With PTI inputs

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