ICC Champions Trophy | Kohli hints at unchanged Indian lineup for the final

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ICC Champions Trophy | Kohli hints at unchanged Indian lineup for the final

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SportsCafe Desk

06/18/2017

Virat Kohli has hinted at playing an unchanged team for the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan today. This means that Hardik Pandya will feature in the final as the Indian skipper is reluctant to change a winning combination. Kohli expected all the players to give more than 100% in the final.

"Not looking to change too many things because I would any day back a guy like Hardik, who provides you so much balance in conditions like England. He can be effective as a bowler and his batting is priceless," Kohli told reporters at the pre-match press conference.

Hardik Pandya has been one of the best players for India in the tournament, having smashed 20 runs off 6 balls against Pakistan when the teams met on June 4. Moreover, the 23-year old also posted figures of 2/39 in the semi-final against Bangladesh and Kohli has backed Pandya to come good once again. "If you are chasing a total where you need eight runs an over and you have lost wickets, he is the guy who can still win you the game. That's the kind of belief he has in his abilities and we have in him. He is a complete package, so I would not like to change anything at this particular stage."

Although India hammered Pakistan in their tournament opener, the Indian skipper dismissed the possibility of that win giving India an advantage heading into today’s final. "There is no guarantee that a team will always win or lose against any particular opposition. It all depends on how you perform and give your 100 percent on that day. We focus on the things within our control, so as I said we don't go after past records and statistics."

“I don't see any relevance of the first game here. You can never tell how a particular team starts a tournament. Some teams start off confidently but they fail later while some might not have the best starts but they come back amazingly which Pakistan has done," he said.

Pakistan have defied expectations since their opening loss to India and put together a resurgent run by beating South Africa, Sri Lanka and England to make it to the final. And Kohli was cautious not to underestimate the arch-rivals. "Everyone is aware of the kind of talent Pakistan have in their team. On their day they can beat any side in the world. We are quite aware of that but at the same time neither are we too intimidated nor are we too arrogant to what we are doing. It's important to maintain the balance of being confident on your own skill and what you are doing as a team," he added.

Kohli became the fastest man to amass 8000 runs in ODI’s, during his knock of 96* in the semi-final against Bangladesh and speaking about the spectacle of an Indo-Pak final he said, "It's going to be a very well-contested match. Both teams want to win the final. I'm sure all the players will come out and give their 120 percent.”

Having said that, the Delhi batsman denied having any special preparations for such games. "I have never believed in watching too many videos of anyone. I prepare in the best way I can. I believe in my abilities and if I feel I am technically good enough I should be able to counter any bowler. I don't take any extra pressure."

Finally, although India head into the final with a commanding 14-2 Head to head advantage against Pakistan in major ICC tournaments, Kohli felt that there are no certainties in such games. "Whether you have played people or you haven't, you cannot guarantee your performance. Even the bowlers whom you play regularly in a series, in two matches you can be on top of him and in the third he can nick you off. So, it's basically how to react to every ball that's bowled to you," he said. 

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