Virat Kohli: Facing the toughest test of my career in World Cup 2019

Virat Kohli addresses the media ahead of Team’s World Cup opener

Team India is all set to begin its World Cup 2019 campaign on Wednesday when they take on South Africa at Southampton. This is going to be the first World Cup for Virat Kohli as skipper and while addressing the media ahead of the first match, Kohli said the tournament is going to be the toughest test of his career.

Kohli had made his World cup debut in 2011 and he was also a part of India’s World cup squad in 2015, but the 2019 World Cup stands alone for the Indian skipper as the Men in Blue are among the favourites to win the cup.

Talking about the team atmosphere ahead of the World cup opener, Kohli said, "It’s important to have a happy atmosphere in the team camp and we have done so much to get reunited after the IPL and we have also done some team bonding exercises here in UK. The World cup is a long tournament and we will see so many ups and downs where players need to stay united."

Elaborating on Kuldeep Yadav’s fitness, Kohli said, "Kuldeep Yadav is hitting the nets quite confidently. He is hitting stumps in every single ball. So no matter he got wickets in the IPL or not, he is back in form here at the World cup."

Fitness of Kedar Jadhav has also been a matter of concern for India. Kohli appeared hopeful of Jadhav’s presence in the playing eleven tomorrow. "We have selected the most balanced side where we have plenty of options to mix and match the combination. Kedar is fit and he is back to the nets where he is hitting the ball well. He brings variety to the side," said the skipper.

India will be playing their first game almost seven days after the tournament started, while it will be the third match for South Africa. Talking about the delayed start for India, Kohli said, "It was good to get time before the first game. We have observed the opposition better and it will help us take advantage over South Africa."

South Africa have already lost two games. And they faced another setback on Tuesday when pacer Dale Steyn was ruled out of the quadrennial event. Reacting on Steyn’s absence from the South African side, the Indian captain said, "I’m feeling bad for Dale Steyn. He has been a friend, he is very motivated and wanted to play for South Africa. I wish him a speedy recovery. Still, South Africa are a tough side. No matter Steyn or Ngidi play or not, Rabada will always be a threat. Rabada’s skill set will always be respected and we as a team looking forward to winning the match."

On a question, if he sees 500-score in the World cup as predicted by English players, Kohli said, "They (England) can do anything. They have almost done it in the past and anything can happen. But I still doubt I will see 500-score in this World Cup. There is a lot of pressure and I don’t think the conditions in England will let it happen."