The Indian High Commission in New Zealand hosted a reception for the touring Indian cricket team on Wednesday. Captain Virat Kohli arrived in Wellington with the entire team.

Kohli met with the dignitaries including the High Commissioner to New Zealand Muktesh Pardeshi, who gave a welcome speech in honour of the Indian cricketers.

In his speech, Kohli spoke about the mutual admiration he has with New Zealand, who he said play with no spite. He also went on to say that if they were to ever share the number one spot with any other team, then it would be the Blackcaps.

“We are very honoured to be here invited by the High Commissioner. We want to thank you for that. Of all the tours that we have, coming to the Indian High Commission is a very special evening. Because we get to spend time with a lot of people from India, but we also get to meet a lot of people from a country that we are in,” Kohli said.

The BCCI posted a video from the reception. “Ahead of the Test series against New Zealand, #TeamIndia visits the Indian High Commission in Wellington. Talking about mutual admiration and respect between the two countries, listen to what @imVkohli has to say,” read the tweet.

Meanwhile, Kohli dropped enough hints to indicate that senior most pacer Ishant Sharma and young opener Prithvi Shaw will be in the playing XI for the first Test against New Zealand which gets underway at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Friday.

Going by India’s net session on Wednesday, Wriddhiman Saha is starting as the wicketkeeper ahead of Rishabh Pant. Hanuma Vihari, team’s designated No 6 batsman for away Tests, will be the fifth bowling option with Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant being three specialist pacers.

Ravichandran Ashwin is in the mix for the lone specialist spinner’s spot though Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round skills can’t be ignored either.

“He (Ishant) looked pretty normal and pretty similar to what he was bowling before the ankle injury. He is hitting good areas again and he has played (Test cricket) in New Zealand couple of times, so his experience will be useful to us. It was really good to see him bowling with pace and in good areas,” Kohli said during his media interaction.

“Prithvi is a talented player and he has his own game and we want him to follow his instincts and play the way he does. Look, these guys have no baggage and are not desperate to perform in any manner,” the skipper said.