India have the resources to become the best team in test cricket and the bumper home season would be a perfect opportunity to sow the seed of their ascendancy, captain Virat Kohli said on Wednesday.
Kohli’s men embark on an important 13-test season on Thursday when they take on New Zealand in the first match of the three-test series at Kanpur’s Green Park Stadium.
“We believe we certainly have what it takes to be the best team in the world,” the 27-year-old told reporters on the eve of what would be India’s 500th test.
“One area we have tapped into is belief. It’s something that a lot of young players can lack coming into international cricket.
“It’s all about getting rid of that feeling… That’s the only way you can go out there, be confident and express yourself. Express how good you are, and that’s what this team has done.
“More often than not if you’re fearless, the results will fall your way because you’re willing to take that extra risk in the course of the game. I certainly feel that this team has what it takes to be the best.”
India’s poor record as tourists have been a home truth but under Kohli, the team have won series in Sri Lanka and West Indies to briefly occupy the top test rankings before arch-rivals Pakistan snatched it.
Kohli saw a gilt-edged opportunity to reclaim the tag in the big ‘career-defining’ home season which will also include tests against England, Australia and Bangladesh.
“This season is a phase where we can lay the foundation where the test team will go,” Kohli said.
“The challenge in last one year or so has been to show composure and get the victories which we require and we have been able to get that. The important thing is to continue the same.
“This season will be career-defining for all the people in the squad, because hardly we have played 17 test matches regularly.
“That’s something we are happy about, that we can plan our test cricket, and back ourselves and get those victories whenever the chance comes. Very exciting times ahead.”
Dwelling on the test against New Zealand, Kohli praised the touring side’s fearless brand of cricket, which he attributed to former Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum.
“Their mentality was cricket was not the end of the world for them, they just enjoyed the game,” Kohli said. “I think they have been able to detach themselves from those pressures and that’s why they have got successful in last couple of years.”
Indian paceman Ishant Sharma has been ruled out of the test with mosquito-borne viral disease Chikungunya.