Virat Kohli oozes confidence ahead of first Test, says India ready for challenge against New Zealand

India skipper Virat Kohli said that his team will have to display a “lot more concentration on the field” and perform their best in the first Test of the two-match series against New Zealand scheduled to start on Friday (February 21) at the Basin Reserve.

Address a press conference after the pre-series photo session, Kohli appeared confident and said that his team is capable of competing 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. That`s the kind of confidence we will carry into this series,” Kohli was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz.

Kohli, 31, added that unlike Australia and England, opposition teams do not face much crowd trouble and all they need is to focus on their game. “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. In New Zealand it`s all about cricket discipline and what the team brings on the field,” he remarked.

The Indian skipper said that New Zealand cricketers are highly skilled in all aspects and they have high fitness level which makes it tougher for the opposition to defeat them. “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,” noted Kohli.

Notably, India are currently on top of the World Test Championship table with 360 points, while hosts New Zealand are at the sixth spot with 60 points. The Kiwis were defeated 3-0 by Australia in their last series but Kohli said that the outcome of that series will not have much effect on the upcoming 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. 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,” Kohli said.