Pakistan can spring a surprise, says Virat Kohli

"They can surprise you because you don't play against them so much," the Indian captain said the pre-match press conference ahead of the Champions Trophy meeting against Pakistan on Sunday.

Virat Kohli at a practice session in Birmingham on Saturday.   -  AP

India and Pakistan do not play each other often. The last time the teams met in a One-Day International (ODI) was at the 2015 World Cup. Much has changed about Pakistan since. "They can surprise you because you don't play against them so much," Virat Kohli said here on Saturday.

"You know of their abilities. But you're not too aware of how they react in different situations. As individuals, some people like to watch videos and go through bowlers and batsmen and all that. Some people don't. I personally don't. If a cricket ball has been bowled, you should be good enough to handle it, whether it's bowled by someone you play regularly or you don't."

Kohli has turned in match-winning performances in his last three appearances against Pakistan. But as captain, this is his first time leading India at a major tournament. Captaincy or the reported issues between him and the coach would not change the way he batted, Kohli felt. "About wanting to win games for the country, I've had that mindset since the beginning. So it hasn't changed anything just because I'm captain. I never played irresponsibly even when I wasn't captain," he said.

‘More responsibility’

"If I am in the position to take the team through, I would any day love to do that, whether I'm captain or not captain. So it doesn't make me feel like I have to do something extra here to get something going as a captain. My batting has always been similar. It's just that captaincy gives you much more responsibility on the field. And handling your players on and off the field is something that captaincy requires. It's a big skill to have."

There was nothing different about playing Pakistan, Kohli stated. "I know it sounds pretty boring, but this is exactly what we feel as cricketers," he said. "I'm sure all the other teams don't put more price on one game than another - especially in a tournament like this where you don't have just one tough game, you have all tough games, right through to the finals. You need to be 100 percent motivated playing for the country regardless of who you're facing."

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