Cricket: Cricket-Kohli gives WTC thumbs-up but would prefer best-of-three final


SOUTHAMPTON, England (Reuters) – The World Test Championship (WTC) is a great way to inject excitement into cricket’s longest format but the final should be a best-of-three affair, said India captain Virat Kohli after his side lost to New Zealand in a rain-hit one off title decider.

New Zealand became test cricket’s first official world champions on Wednesday by beating Kohli’s team by eight wickets in a low-scoring final in Southampton.

The final was decided in the final hour of its reserve day, which was activated to make up for lost time over the first five days.

“It’s great for the game,” Kohli said of the inaugural WTC, which was launched in 2019 by the governing International Cricket Council (ICC) to create a pinnacle event for the format.

“Test cricket is probably the heartbeat of international cricket. I think this format will definitely help test cricket be exciting.

“It’s a great move by ICC and puts that much on the line for every test match and it’s going to get more and more exciting from here.”

The only aspect of the WTC he did not like was that the winners were determined via a one-off final.

“I’m not in absolute agreement of deciding the best test side in the world over the course of one game, to be very honest,” said Kohli, who is waiting for his first ICC trophy as India captain.

“If it is a test series, it has to be a test of character over three tests …”

“It can’t just be pressure applied over two days of good cricket and then you suddenly are not a good test side anymore. I don’t believe in that.”

India coach Ravi Shastri said earlier this month that a best-of-three final would make for more drama and give teams room to stage a comeback, but ICC acting CEO Geoff Allardice poured cold water on the idea due to the difficulty in fitting it into an already crowded calendar.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson also felt scheduling would be a challenge and preferred the one-match shootout.

“The one-off factor does bring a unique dynamic, which does make it exciting and all these sorts of things, and on any given day anything can happen,” Williamson said.

“I suppose there’s arguments for both sides, and I guess the challenge would be scheduling …”

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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