The fourth Test is decisive for the hosts as it would take them to the WTC final. India registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England in the third Test and took the 2-1 lead in the series.
India only need to draw the final Test against Joe Root‘s men in order to seal a spot in the WTC final. Axar, playing in just his second Test, scalped 11 wickets in the day-night Test to spin a web over the Englishmen.
“To be brutally honest it (WTC) might work for teams that are not motivated enough to play Test cricket. Teams like us who are motivated to play Test cricket and want to win Test matches and keep the Indian cricket team at the top of the world in Test cricket we have no issues whatsoever whether it is WTC or not,” Kohli said in a virtual press conference.
“I think for teams like us, it is just a distraction when you start thinking of WTC. Eventually, it is only a game of cricket. World Cup final, semifinal anything you take it is the game of cricket at the end of the day. And if you are not motivated to play a normal game of cricket and extra motivated to play a game of cricket which has some incentive to it for me, as an individual that is unacceptable. We as a team have never played with that mindset. For us any game is important, we are going to go for a result whenever an opportunity presents itself. That’s why people want to watch us as a team now,” he added.
When asked if spinner Kuldeep Yadav has fallen down in the pecking order, the skipper replied: “There is no issue with skill, there is no issue with headspace. His game is absolutely precise, bowling better than he has ever bowled before. We need to make sure that we cover all facets of the game, we have our strongest balanced squad on the park. See if Jadeja is playing and you are talking about the third spinner then Kuldeep comes into the picture way more because of Jadeja’s experience with the bat and the number of times he has done the job for the team. Right now, we are going in with Ashwin. Washi is playing, Axar is playing. Washi has scored a few runs so yes they can contribute with the bat, but it is not the same experience as Jadeja.
“So, the combination becomes very different when Jadeja comes. You can play Kuldeep who is primarily a wrist spinning bowler but it’s all about the combinations. He will always be in consideration to play whatever game is in front of us purely because of his skill with the ball,” he added.
The fourth Test of the series will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium from Thursday.