Virat Kohli has described Test cricket as “the most beautiful format of the game” and expects the forthcoming Test Championship, which is due to start in July 2019, to give it “a huge push”.
In a rare and exclusive sit-down interview with India’s captain in the latest issue of Wisden Cricket Monthly, available to order here, he says that despite the emergence of T20 and the Indian Premier League, and personally boasting an unparalleled batting record in ODI cricket, nothing compares to the thrill of triumphing in the five-day game.
“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,” Kohli tells WCM. “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. It should not be tinkered with.
“I think the Test Championship 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.”
Kohli did, however, sound a warning to national cricket boards across the world, insisting they need to keep promoting the longest format in order for it to flourish and not become dominated by T20.
“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,” he continues. “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. You don’t want players to get into that mindset where they’re finding the easy way out.”