NEW DELHI: There has been quite a hype around India facing Pakistan in their ICC Champions Trophy 2017 opener next month but for Virat Kohli it’s just another game and the team will prepare for it the same way as it does for any other.
Addressing a press conference ahead of the Champions Trophy, Kohli said, “With all due respect, whatever else is going around, as a cricketer, we can’t even think of our batting partner when in the middle. So, forget thinking about things which aren’t in our control. For us cricketers, it’s about playing the game that we love and it never changes. India-Pakistan game is always exciting for the fans. Yes, the atmosphere is different but as cricketers, it’s just a game of cricket for us. The hype created around is not in our control. We prepare the same way for every other game. The atmosphere in the stadium is different but in our heads, nothing really changes whether you are playing Australia, England or South Africa.”
Kohli called the experienced duo of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh as the team’s strongest pillars and expressed happiness over their recent performances in limited-overs cricket.
When questioned how he plans to use the vast experience of Dhoni and Yuvraj in the middle order, Kohli said, “It’s not for me to use them. They have so much experience that if we give them the freedom to play their own natural game, being the most experienced in the squad, they know how to build an innings and take match out of difficult situations. They played with freedom in the last series (against England) which was heartening. It helps in boosting the environment. The entire outlook changes. They are strongest pillars of our team.”
Asked how he will approach the tournament considering his side are the defending champions, Kohli said, “The first challenge is to not think about that fact that we are defending the title. When we went there the last time (2013), we just wanted to enjoy ourselves as a young unit and then we ended up winning the tournament and creating a team which has done so well so far. There have been few changes made from that team. My mindset is similar, go out and enjoy your game. We have reached the top with that mindset. Ruthlessness is something that we speak about all the time. We go in with that mindset. That will go a long way in such a tournament and will get you results more often than not.”