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WTC Final 2021 – Virat Kohli calls for best-of-three finals to decide future World Test Championships

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India captain acknowledges NZ were better side but says great Tests come in series

Virat Kohli, India’s captain, admitted that New Zealand are the deserving winners of the inaugural World Test Championship, but has called for future editions of the tournament – which is contested over a two-year cycle – to be decided in series comprising a minimum of three Tests between the two finalists.

“I am not in absolute agreement of deciding the best Test side in the world over the course of one game,” Kohli said in the wake of his team’s eight-wicket loss in Southampton.

“If it is a Test series, it has to be a test of character over three Tests – which team has the ability to come back in the series, or totally blow away the other team. It can’t just be pressure applied over two days of good cricket and then you suddenly you are not a good Test side anymore. I don’t believe in it.”

Kohli was expanding on the point he had made on the eve of the final, when he had said victory or defeat in the one-off final would not carry too much significance for his team. The best-of-three final was suggested by Indian head coach Ravi Shastri in a recent interview, and Kohli today added more flesh to that argument.

“It has to be a hard grind and something that definitely needs to be worked around in the future,” he said. “At the end of three matches, where there’s effort, there’s ups and downs, there’s situations changing during the course of the series, a chance to rectify the things you have done in the first game, and then really see who is the better side over the course of a three-match series or something, will be a good measure of how things really are.

“So we are not too bothered by this result because we understand as a Test side what we have done over the last 3-4 years, not just over the last 18 months. So this is not a measure of who we are as a team [with] the ability and the potential we have had for so many years now.”

Despite days one and four of the WTC final being washed out, the match reached a riveting climax on the reserve day, with several stand-out performers including the Player of the Match Kyle Jamieson, his captain Kane Williamson, and Tim Southee, who claimed four second-innings wickets. For India, Mohammad Shami was outstanding in New Zealand’s first innings, while Rishabh Pant’s inventive counterattacking on the final afternoon helped post an eventual target of 139.

Asked if he believed that the quality of the cricket on display could help make the case for a best-of-three final in the future, Kohli responded with a categorical yes.

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