Lack of match practice before the World Test Championship final against New Zealand is not a big worry for Virat Kohli but the legendary Dilip Vengsarkar believes that it “may hurt” the Indian captain.
India reached England on Thursday and headed into a three-day quarantine in Southampton, the venue for the match from June 18.
New Zealand, on the other hand, are engaged in a two-Test series against England, the first of which will finish on Sunday.
Vengsarkar, a veteran of 116 Tests, said that Kohli and Rohit Sharma are in very good form, but lack of time in the middle might affect their performance at least in the tour-opening WTC final.
“Well he [Kohli] has been around for a long time. He is one of the best batsmen in world cricket at the moment. Players like Virat or Rohit Sharma, they are world-class players, they take a lot of pride in their performance and pride in winning matches for India.
“It is a good thing and both are in very good form. But having said that, I think lack of match practice may hurt them in the first Test match. That is what I feel,” Vengsarkar, the former chairman of selectors, told PTI on Sunday.
Vengsarkar said the Kiwis could have slight advantage. “India is a better team and in great form. The advantage with New Zealand, it is a low-profile team… they are getting to play two Test matches before the Test match [WTC final].
“So it is important… it is a slight advantage to New Zealand… because they have already played two Test matches… they are acclimatised to the conditions.”
Kohli, during the pre-departure press conference ahead of the WTC final and subsequent five-Test series against hosts England, had said that lack of practice was not such an issue as almost all the players in the side have past experience of playing here.
“…in the past we have landed in places three days prior even in a proper schedule and have had hell of series and hell of competition, so it is all in the head,” he said.