MUMBAI: Virat Kohli played down India's status Friday as favourites for cricket's World Twenty20, saying their rivals' experience of playing in the IPL had robbed the tournament's hosts of home advantage.
Speaking at a promotional event for the trophy, the swashbuckling batsman said many players expected to star in the tournament had grown familiar with local conditions through the annual Indian Premier League (IPL).
“So many players all around the world have played in the IPL for eight-nine years now, so they are pretty familiar with the Indian conditions,” he said.
“It's not such a big home advantage anymore and, especially with formats like T20 where the cricket is so quick, any team could be a favourite.”
Kohli said that India's recent defeat against South Africa in a T20 series that preceded the just-completed Test series showed that foreign players “know where to bowl and which shots to hit in Indian conditions”.
Bookmakers have India as 3-1 favourites to win the tournament which is taking place from March 8 to April 3, with Australia priced at 5-1.
The IPL is also usually held in April, featuring players from most of the leading countries in world cricket.
Kohli was part of the team which won the 50 over World Cup on home soil in 2011 but he was on the losing side when India lost the last World T20 against Sri Lanka in Bangladesh in 2013.
Although he skippers the Test side, he is expected to be back in the ranks during the World T20 under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.