Champions Trophy clash against Pakistan is like any other game: Kohli

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Mumbai [India], May 24 (ANI): With just few days left for the commencement of his side's Champions Trophy campaign against Pakistan ,Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday said that the match against the arch-rivals will be seen as just another game of cricket that everyone looks forward to. Fans from both nations have marked their calendars for June 4, when the two arch-rivals take on each other in their group clash at Edgbaston. "Yes, India-Pakistan game is always very exciting for all the fans watching and the atmosphere in the stadium is different from any other game, but for us, it just a game of cricket. The hype created around is not in our control. We prepare the same for every game. The atmosphere around is different yes, but in our heads nothing changes whether it's any team, it is exactly the same for us," Kohli told the reporters ahead of the team's departure for the event that begins June 1 in England and Wales. When asked if he plays for redemption, Kohli said that the only thing that matters to him is winning matches for the country and to contribute to the best of his ability. "I will never play for redemption. My only motivation is to keep winning games for my country. It doesn't matter in what condition I am playing. The aim always is to win games and I am willing to do whatever I can in my abilities to achieve that for my team. People might look at it as redemption or opportunity. In my head I don't think of those things at all. For me, it is a game of cricket played anywhere in the world," Kohli said. Talking about the presence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh's in the team, Kohli insisted that both of them are big players and that there is no need to guide them. He further expressed hope that both players continue to playing freely as they did in India's last ODI series against England. "The kind of players they are, I don' think I need to guide them. If given freedom, Dhoni and Yuvraj know how to bring their experience into play. They should play their game in the middle order. I am sure they know the maxim in the team," Kohli said. "They know how to build the match or how to win the match or how to deal with a difficult situation. In the last series as well, they were playing freely. They were enjoying batting alongside each other. So, it feels good when your experienced players play with such an open mindset and it also helps in boosting the team's morale. They are the strongest pillars of the team and if they perform well, it boosts the morale of the entire team," the swashbuckling batsman added. Kohli said that his side will not head into the Champions Trophy thinking that they are the defending champions and that they would just try to enjoy the games. He added that as the format of the event is quite challenging, they have to be at their top of the game from ball one unlike the World Cup. "I think the tournament is much shorter. The competitiveness of the tournament is much higher from the World Cup. In the World Cup, you can still have league games and you can have yourself to get into the World Cup, then may be dominant in the later half, but in Champions Trophy, you need to be on top of your game from ball one, if you are not, chances go down very soon. So, I think that is the biggest challenge in the Champions Trophy, something that all the players love playing for sure because it is so competitive and all the fans love watching," he added. "The first challenge is not to think about the fact that we are a defending champion. When we went there the last time. We just wanted to enjoy ourselves and then we ended up winning the tournament. Then, we ended up creating the team that has done so well so far. So right now, I think the mindset is very similar to go out there and enjoy our cricket which we have done in past couple of years and in Test cricket we have been able to reach the top with that mindset," Kohli said. The Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team play two warm-up games against New Zealand on May 28 (Sunday) and Bangladesh on May 30 (Tuesday) before taking on Pakistan. (ANI)