Virat Kohli thinks India’s remarkable Test success Down Under in the last few years has earned them respect from the Australians.
In 2018-19 and 2020-21, India tamed Australia in their own backyard with identical 2-1 series wins.
“Rivalry was intense in the beginning, the environment was also very tense. But since we have won in Australia twice, the rivalry has turned into respect and we are not taken lightly anymore as a Test team,” Kohli told Star Sports.
“We can feel that respect when we play against Australia, that ‘they have beaten us twice in our own backyard back-to-back and it will be a battle of equals’.”
“There used to be tension in the air which is not the case now. When you achieve a standing, make your presence felt in the ground, no one takes you lightly.”
India and Australia meet in the World Test Championship final at The Oval starting Wednesday.
Personally, Kohli said the Australian challenge always motivates him to excel.
“I understand that mindset that all 11 players are on the same page and they will look to capitalise on even an inch. So, my motivation increases against this team (Australia) that is so aware and competitive, I have to elevate my game.
“The motivation and drive they have, they won’t let you come back in the game. So I had to take my game to the next level,” Kohli said.
The Oval, overall, has not been a happy hunting ground for both Australia and India and Kohli thinks one who adapts better to the conditions, will emerge triumphant.
“I think The Oval will be challenging, we won’t get a flat wicket and batters need to be cautious. We will need to concentrate on our focus and discipline,” Kohli said.
“So you need to have the experience to play as per the conditions and we cannot go in with the expectation that The Oval pitch will play as it always has. So we have to adjust and adapt, we have only one match in a neutral venue, so whoever adapts better will win the match.
“This is the beauty of the World Test Championship, two neutral teams with no home advantage, so it will be very exciting to see how both teams adapt to the situation.”
Kohli also explained the tricks of tackling seaming conditions as a batter.
“Toughest part of playing in overcast and seaming conditions in England is understanding and choosing the balls that you need to hit. The balance between scoring runs and playing with a solid technique is very important.
“You can’t walk out so much that you are just standing there to get out and you can’t be over-aggressive either. To get that balance right is the only way you can put pressure... decision-making becomes very crucial in that stage,” Kohli added.