Virat Kohli: Important for India to focus on own game against Pakistan

Virat Kohli says a professional approach is "most important" even in a high-pressure match against Pakistan.

Virat Kohli addresses the media at Old Trafford in Manchester on the eve of facing Pakistan.   -  AFP

The cricketing globe may be in a tizzy over Sunday’s World Cup clash between India and Pakistan but Virat Kohli preferred to treat it as just another contest. “A professional approach to the game is most important. We can’t get too emotional. Obviously, the mindset of the player is always going to be different from that of the fans. You can't mix the two,” the Indian skipper said in a press-conference here on Saturday.

Kohli emphasised that he would prefer to focus on his team rather than worry about the opposition’s strengths: “In the first two games that we played, we had very clinical performances. We just focused on exactly what we needed to do. We are not focusing too much on what the opposition will bring to the table. If we play well as a team, we can beat any side.”

Read: 'Win or lose, World Cup won’t end on Sunday'

Asked about the chatter within the dressing room and if there is added pressure since the opponent is Pakistan, Kohli replied: “We are a top side in the world because of the cricket that we played. Our focus is absolutely that. So the conversation in the changing room hasn't changed at all, from the time we came to England and until now.”

Based on the prevailing conditions that hint at rain, Kohli might effect some changes in his playing eleven: “We can't be rigid because if the conditions are different, then we will have to think of different combinations. If pace becomes an important option, then we will look to explore that.”

Kohli reiterated that all his players, including the fast bowlers are in rhythm despite inclement weather affecting a game and some practice sessions. Soon the media interaction acquired a lighter tone when Kohli was probed about his most tense and funny moments while playing against Pakistan.

The Indian captain grinned and said: “Tense was the 2009 Champions Trophy at South Africa, where Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) fractured a finger. I was flown in and in two days time I was playing against Pakistan at Centurion. I hadn't experienced anything like that before, and I played a very bad shot. I couldn't sleep until six in the morning. As for the funny moment, it happened during the 2011 World Cup match at Mohali. There was an incident involving Shahid Afridi and Wahab Riaz. I can't really elaborate but it was quite funny.”