India skipper Virat Kohli has downplayed the suggestion that India may be taking Sri Lanka lightly ahead of their three match Test series.
Kohli insisted that the series mattered to his team and they are determined to do well against an opponent they whitewashed away from home just a few months ago.
The captain knows that the public and press expect India to be at their best at all times and that puts pressure on the team.
Kohli joked with the press ahead of the first Test: “It’s not like we can lose this series and you guys will say nothing.
“Every match that you play is important. Every series is huge. Everything is important when you play for the country.”
Kohli says the focus for India is always to play good cricket no matter where in the world they are competing.
He said: “Everyone is on the same page, whether we play in India or away from India, regardless of the opposition we play, we want to maintain consistency as a team.
“That has worked for us because we’re not differentiating in terms of where we are playing, how we’re playing, what team we’re playing. We just want to play good cricket as a team. The results take care of itself if you play good cricket anywhere in the world.
“It’s not like in India you can get away by playing bad cricket. The eventual goal is to respect the sport, respect the skillset that we have and try and execute that in every condition and every situation we’re in.”
There is no sign of the trademark Kohli intensity waivering any time soon and he expects the same from his charges.
Kohli added: “For us, there’s no room for complacency, saying ‘I don’t want to play this game’ or standing at the crease with bat in hand and saying, ‘I don’t feel like batting’.
“There’s no room for that because you’re going to get out and the team is going to lose. We are at top intensity all the time. I don’t know if there’s too much cricket being played or a repetition of the same series being played again or not. We do what we are presented with, every time a new series comes up.
“I think this analysis has to be done over a period of time by asking fans who watch the game It definitely has to be taken into consideration because you don’t want fans going away from the game. We have to maintain a balance of how to engage fans and how to keep players fresh and at the same time keep cricket exciting and have very competitive cricket happening throughout the year. It’s a very good question and that point will definitely be discussed in the future.”
The first of three Tests between India and Sri Lanka gets underway at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.