Virat Kohli, in a press conference today, has said that the India-Pakistan rivalry is certainly a clash that fans look forward to, but from the players' point of view it as just another game of cricket. The two teams will face each other for the first time in an ODI since World Cup '15 on June 4.
Despite the political situation indicating tensions between the two countries, Kohli made it clear at a press conference that the Indian Cricket Team was not under any sort of pressure about the much-awaited match. Since this game will be his first as the Indian captain in an ICC event, Kohli seems intent on making sure that the focus remains on the game rather than the rivalry.
"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,” said Kohli, reported TOI.
Kohli has been in inspired form against India’s sub-continental rivals Pakistan in the recent past, with the Indian playing the starring role in securing the three victories in a row for his side. In 10 ODIs against Pakistan, Kohli averages an impressive 41.44 and has the highest individual score of 183. However, the Indian captain has claimed that the match is just another fixture in the ICC calendar.
“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 added.
When asked about how he would
"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
During India’s long home season, the 28-year-old stressed on playing with the mindset of enjoying the game and it resulted in the team coming up with good results. Kohli mentioned that the team would follow the same approach to defend their Champions Trophy crown as well.
"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,” the Indian captain concluded.
In the last 5 IND vs SA ODIs, SA was bowled out twice, while IND was bowled out only once.
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