Kohli calm before the storm

Virat Kohli arrives for a training session at Old Trafford Cricket Stadium in Manchester on June 15, 2019, ahead of the 2019 World Cup match between India and Pakistan. AFP

Media, both conventional and otherwise, maybe abuzz with the India-Pakistan blockbuster here on Sunday, but Virat Kohli betrayed few signs of pressures of the biggest clash of the World Cup, unless the same two sides make the final on July 14.

While the Indian fans will not want anything less than a win against the archrivals, Kohli suggested it wasn’t the end of the world irrespective of which way the result goes here at the Old Trafford and they would still have plenty to play for in the tournament going forward.        

“I think the best way to approach something like this, if one focuses too much on what’s going on the outside, it’s to understand that the game starts tomorrow at a certain time and it finishes at a certain time, so it’s not going to last a lifetime for you, whether you do well or you don’t,” Kohli said when asked as to how he dealt keeping the youngsters unaffected from all the hype around an Indo-Pak clash.

“That’s the one thing that, as cricketers, always keeps you grounded, always keeps you focused, because our tournament, whether we do well as a team or we don’t do well, tomorrow is not going to finish. So even if we have like a good performance as a team or a performance where we feel like we can improve in more areas, the tournament still has to go on.

“So I think the focus always has to be on the larger picture, but on that particular day, you need to come out there as a team and execute the plans that you have as 11 guys on the field so that way no one person takes more pressure than the other, even if you talk about the youngsters on the side. They will feel like they have the support of seniors,” he elaborated.

Kohli wasn’t also willing to read too much into Pakistan’s unpredictability, emphasising the fact that they looked at their own strengths more than they worried about oppositions’.    

“Well, we know that they have a lot of talent in their team, but we know that, if we play well, then we play really well as a team,” he began. “We saw that in the first two games that we played, very clinical performances, and we just focused on exactly what we need to do. We’re not focusing too much on what the opposition has to do or what they will bring to the table.

“We need to believe in our strengths. We believe, if we play well as a team, we can beat any side in the world. That’s the type of confidence we have carried in the first two games, and we want to continue in the same manner in the next whatever coming games we have.”

Speaking about the combination, Kohli said: “We can’t be rigid in our approach because, if the conditions are very different from what we played in the last game, then we’ll have to think of different combinations.”

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