Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli called Test cricket ‘the most beautiful format of the game’ and said that it should not be tinkered with. He added that he does not see the format going anywhere in the near future.
In a recent interview to Wisden, Kohli said, “I cannot explain to you the job satisfaction that you get when you do well in Test cricket, because you know how demanding it is. It’s the most beautiful format of the game. I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere. I don’t even see it getting compressed to four days.”
Asked his opinion on the Test matches getting compressed to four days, Kohli, one of the highest run-getters in Test cricket said, “Definitely (a backward step). It should not be tinkered with. In a few countries, yes. It all depends on the awareness of people who watch the game. If you take a country like South Africa or Australia or England, they have big crowds for Test matches because people understand the sport.”
“It’s literally living life over five days. There are so many ups and downs and even when you’ve done well you’ve got to keep coming back and doing it all over again. I think that if you really understand the sport, if you really love the sport, you understand Test cricket and you understand how exciting it is. I cannot explain to you the job satisfaction that you get when you do well in Test cricket, because you know how demanding it is.”
Talking about his passion for Test cricket and the ICC’s plan of introducing a nine-team two-year Test world championship in 2019, he said, “I think that is going to give a huge push to Test cricket. It makes every series more competitive, and there’s going to be ups and downs throughout the Championship, which I really look forward to. The teams that love playing Test cricket are always going to be passionate about it.”
“And it also depends on the system you have back home as well. If you’re not going to give more importance to first-class cricket, then people are going to lose motivation to play the longest format of the game. And with the T20 format coming in I think there’s far greater responsibility on all the cricket boards across the world to treat first-class cricket really well, because if the facilities and the standard goes up, then the motivation always stays,” he added.
Picking up aspects of leadership from Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the talismanic batsman said, “Not really anyone before MS. I was always someone who kept talking to him about the game so even when I was really young, before I was made vice-captain, I would give him my suggestions.”
“I love thinking about the game and that’s why I enjoy captaincy so much and I enjoy chasing totals so much – I love using my brain to figure out what needs to be done during the game. I’ve learned the most from MS, standing so close to him at slip so many times and just observing him at close quarters,” he said on his love for captaincy.