Virat Kohli: You plan for a World Cup 12 months before, not four years says India captain after 3-0 sweep
Virat Kohli led India to a 3-0 T20I sweep of West Indies. © AFP

Virat Kohli is not focused on the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup just yet, instead channeling his energy on leading the Indian cricket team to consistent wins across formats with the target being to win series after series.

The just concluded T20I series with West Indies – two in Florida, one in Guyana – was India’s first international assignment since they exited the 2019 World Cup semi-finals with an 18-run loss to New Zealand on July 10. On Thursday, India will play their first ODI since that loss and Kohli maintained that the road to 2023 did not start this week.

(READ: What could India’s 2023 squad look like?)

Asked about India’s plans for the next World Cup, after the team’s seven-wicket win over West Indies in the third T20I on Tuesday, Kohli replied: “2023 is too far ahead to be honest. You start looking forward to the World Cup and planning for it 12 months prior. Not four years away. I think the priority is to keep Indian cricket at the top. Play consistent cricket, go out there and win games.”

India are ranked second in ODIs, and Kohli identified the team’s success since he took over the captaincy in January 2017 as indication of the progress they intend to make. Under Kohli, India have lost just two bilateral ODI series – in England in 2018 and at home to Australia in March – and the team wants to move to No 1.

SCORECARD: INDIA vs WEST INDIES, 3rd T20I | SERIES SCHEDULE PAGE

“For us, the priority has always been to be one of the most consistent sides in the world and in the last three to four years, I think we’ve been able to achieve that,” said Kohli. “We’re the number two side in the world and there’s a good reason to that. We’ve been at number one as well sometime. It’s the kind of cricket that we’ve played that has gotten us up here.”

india vs west indies 3rd t20 2019
The Indian cricket team celebrates their 3-0 T20I sweep of West Indies.© AFP

The tour now shifts into ODI mode with the first of three matches between India and West Indies on Thursday.

“We want to be as professional as possible in the ODIs and Tests. We want results, to win games of cricket,” said Kohli. “The West Indies ODI team is even stronger, so it will be hard work, but we will try to have fun as a team for a month.”

(READ: Virat Kohli expects tougher ODI series but ‘will try to have fun’)

Kohli – who himself scored 59 off 45 balls – commended Rishabh Pant, who finished the third T20I on 65 not out off 42 balls – his highest score in T20Is.

“For the first two games, he was really disappointed he didn’t get any runs. He was playing really well, hitting the ball well,” he said. “That’s how T20 cricket goes. Sometimes you don’t have the rub of the green. Today he made sure he applied himself and backed his skills. Backed himself for the big shots when required and really played with the tempo of the innings.

“Especially finishing the match, that was the message from the batting coach for him. Finish the match, score the winning runs. That always gives you extra confidence as a player when you finish games and return not out.”