Kohli expecting his 'most challenging World Cup' yet

By Sports Desk May 21, 2019

India captain Virat Kohli believes the upcoming Cricket World Cup will be the most challenging he has played in.

The tournament in England starts next week, with India going into the event second in the ICC's one-day international rankings behind only the hosts.

In Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah they also have the world's number one batsman and bowler in the 50-over format, but for the skipper every game represents a significant obstacle due to the depth of quality in the competition.

And the fact all 10 teams will play each other once as the World Cup reverts to the same format it used back in 1992 has Kohli on guard.

"It is probably the most challenging World Cup of all the three that I have been part of because of the format and looking at the strength of the all the sides as well," Kohli said in Mumbai before his team travelled to England.

"If we live up to our skill sets and our standards that we set for ourselves, we'll be on the right side of the result more often. That is going to be key. Every game you have to play to the best of your potential because it's not a group stage anymore, it's playing everyone once.

"The best thing is that we'll have four tough games straight up and that will set the tone nicely for us. Everyone has to be at their best intensity from the first match onwards and we don't have any room for complacency.

"It's the World Cup, the most important tournament in the world. We expect that kind of pressure from the first second."

Kohli, 30, believes handling pressure will be a bigger challenge than tackling the conditions.

"White-ball cricket, playing in England, playing an ICC tournament, the conditions are not that different or that difficult I would say, compared to Test cricket," he said.

"Pressure is the most important thing in the World Cup and not necessarily the conditions. From that point of view, it will be helpful. 

"We go into the World Cup feeling very balanced and very strong as a side. You saw in the IPL as well, all the players that are in the squad were in great form and played really well.

"We expect high-scoring games, but a bilateral series compared to a World Cup is very different.

"You might see a lot of, I won't say low-scoring games, but 260-270 kind of games, teams getting those totals and defending it successfully because of the pressure factor. We expect all kinds of scenarios at the World Cup - there will be quite a few high-scoring games too."

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