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Virat Kohli says India vs Pakistan ICC Champions Trophy clash nothing special

India kickstart their title defence against Pakistan on June 4

Utathya Nag utathya10 25 May 2017, 7:35 PM
Kohli at a press conference before Team India leaves for England

Kohli at a press conference before Team India leaves for England Image: AFP

India captain Virat Kohli played down the hype surrounding Team India's much-anticipated ICC Champions Trophy opener against Pakistan and said the players will treat it like any other normal match.

Defending champions India will open their campaign in the eight-team tournament on June 4 at Edgbaston.

"As a cricketer, we can't control things outside the stadium. It is a big match we understand but in our heads there is no difference," Kohli told reporters ahead of the team's departure for England.


"The hype and atmosphere around the India-Pakistan match is beyond our control, but for us it is the same as any other match," he added.

The 28-year-old batsman felt that the tournament will be more competitive this time around with the top eight teams in action, but also asserted that the Men-in-Blue are up for the challenge.

"I think because the tournament is shorter and involves all the top teams, the Champions Trophy is far more competitive than other big tournaments. It will grab a lot of eyeballs. So we are up for the challenge," he said.

"Last time also, we went there to enjoy and that is what we will look to do this time too. We have done well in Test cricket and T20s and we want to make that success constant in all three formats," added Kohli.

The Indian skipper, however, warned his team against any sort of complacency.

"Biggest challenge is not to think that we are the defending champions," he said.

Commenting on his team's approach going into the tournament, the Delhi batsman said, "The last Champions Trophy helped us find the opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan. The spinners did well but the performance of the pacers was also a big revelation."

"You need to play according to the situation and we need to get used to the conditions quickly as possible. If (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni and Yuvraj (Singh) play with freedom then it boosts the morale of the team and that's what was seen during the series against England," he added.

India are placed in Group B along side South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan while the other group comprises Australia, England, New Zealand and Bangladesh.

(With inputs from IANS)

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