Virat Kohli talked to reporters before departing for the 2019 World Cup in England (IANS Photo)
- Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri spoke to the media before Team India's departure for the 2019 World Cup
- India will begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 6 in Southampton
- In 2015, India had reached the World Cup semifinals before losing to eventual champions Australia
Virat Kohli said the 2019 Cricket World Cup will be the most challenging of all the 3 World Cups he has played so far. Kohli, who is now the India captain, was part of the World Cup-winning squad in 2011 and a key player in 2015 when India reached the semifinals.
Hours before Team India's departure for England for the World Cup, Virat Kohli said it was important to be as normal as possible in the World Cup and explained why the format would be a challenge.
"This will probably the most challenging World Cup out of all the World Cups I have been part of looking at the format. The focus will be to play the best cricket we can play. If we do that, we will be on the right side of the result every time," Kohli told the media on Tuesday.
Virat Kohli said it was important for his team to try and stay as normal as possible.
"Try and be as normal as possible. The team which stays more focussed and balanced will progress in the tournament," he said.
Virat Kohli said he expected conditions in England to favour high-scoring matches but added there will be games where teams would be able to defend scores of 260 and 270.
"Pitches are going to be very good in ICC tournaments. A bilateral series compared to a World Cup is very different. A lot of teams will also defend scores like 260 and 270. But there will be a lot of high-scoring games looking at the conditions," Kohli said.
The 2019 Cricket World Cup gets underway on May 30 with hosts England taking on South Africa.
India begin their campaign against South Africa in Southampton on June 5 before taking on Australia (June 9), New Zealand (June 13), Pakistan (June 16) Afghanistan (June 22), West Indies (June 27), England (June 30), Bangladesh (July 2) and Sri Lanka (July 6).
India are being considered one of the favourites for the World Cup along with England, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies and dark horse Pakistan.
India had toured England in 2018 and lost the Test and ODI series after winning the 3-match T20I series.
All of India's 15 players bound for the World Cup played in the Indian Premier League. The likes of Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami were in fine form for their respective teams.
However, Kuldeep Yadav, the left-arm chinaman bowler, was dropped by Kolkata Knight Riders after a brutal assault by Moeen Ali at Eden Gardens. Most of the Indian cricket fraternity have maintained Kuldeep's form in the IPL would not worry the Indian management ahead of the World Cup.
Since the start of 2018, India have been dominant in ODIs and are ranked No.1 in the world. Early last year, India won a historic series in South Africa besides winning the Asia Cup and the home ODI series against West Indies. India then won an ODI series in Australia and another in New Zealand. They had however lost a 3-match series in England.