Kohli not focussed on individual competition with Amir
Manchester: On the eve of the marquee India-Pakistan clash at the World Cup, India captain Virat Kohli said on Saturday that while Mohammad Amir remained a threat, his team will focus on the other bowlers as much as on the left-arm speedster.
“I am not going to say anything for TRPs,” Kohli said in the pre-match presser on Saturday.
“Only the white or red ball matters to me, regardless of who the bowler is. As I had said earlier for (Kagiso) Rabada before the South Africa match, you have to respect any bowler’s skill set. At the same time, you should have faith in your ability to score against any bowler,” he said.
“And it isn’t like the match will be won or lost on the basis of whether I score well or he (Amir) takes a lot of wickets. The other 10 players also have to play well from both sides for getting a result. In my mind, I don’t have any competition with one particular player and I don’t see any need for me to prove myself against anyone. For me it is simple, if you don’t play well then even a part-time bowler can get you out,” Kohli said.
The last time India played Pakistan in an ICC tournament was at the 2017 Champions Trophy when Amir wiped out the mighty Indian top order comprising Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Kohli inside the first nine overs. India went on to lose the match by 180 runs.
While Amir’s form took a dip since then, he seems to have returned to his destructive best in the ongoing World Cup, recording his career best ODI figures of 5/30 in Pakistan’s previous game against Australia.
Kohli also did not disclose whether India will go with the same bowling combination as in the previous two matches or go for an extra pace option. “We will consider different combinations depending on the conditions. If extra pace is an option, we will consider it. If it is a shortened game, we will consider it as well,” he said.
Kohli said that despite the hype surrounding the much-awaited fixture, the mood in the dressing room was the same as it would be for any other game.
“We have discussed nothing different from the time we landed in England. The mood in the dressing room hasn’t changed. We understand that any game we play for the country can be emotional and adrenaline-filled, so no one game is more special for us than the other.
“As cricketers who have been selected to play for the country, our responsibility is to treat every game equally, regardless of the opposition. For us nothing changes, we are a top side because of the cricket we play and we need to remember that. So the conversation has not changed at all and it won’t change in the future as well,” the India skipper said.
The build-up to the game has predictably seen a war on social media and through advertisements from both camps. When asked what message Kohli had for the fans, Kohli said they should enjoy the atmosphere.
“We expect it to be a full stadium and the fans should enjoy the game. In a World Cup you are bound to have full stadia in every match, so for us players it won’t be any different.
“I can’t tell the fans to think in a particular manner. The mindset of the player is bound to be different from that of a fan. You can’t mix the two and you can’t expect fans to think in a professional manner (like the players do). The fans should enjoy the game the way we have over the years, but as players we have to remain professional,” Kohli said.
The match at the Old Trafford in Manchester is scheduled to begin at 10.30 a.m. local time (3 p.m. IST).
India have played three matches in the tournament so far, winning two while one was a washout. Pakistan have played four matches thus far, off which they have lost two, won one, while one was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled.