Mohammad Amir might be Pakistan’s primary bowling threat, but Indian captain Virat Kohli on Saturday said that his side will not focus on one player alone when the two teams face off at the 2019 ICC World Cup on Sunday.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference in Manchester, Kohli said: "I am not going to say anything for different for TRPs or for exciting news. You have to respect every bowler's strength. I just focus on the white ball or the red ball, regardless of the bowler. You have to respect a good bowler's skillset. I said this even before the South Africa match about Kagiso Rabada"
"Impact bowlers are there in world cricket. We have to be wary of their strength but at the same time focus on my strength to score runs. It's not like if he [Amir] takes a wicket or I score runs, the match result is going to be decided. There are going to be 10 other players. All of them have to play well. I don't think I am in a competition with anyone, that's all talks from the outside. This kind of competition doesn't even cross my mind. If you play badly against a bowler, you will get out. It's that simple for me."
Amir has enjoyed some good outings against India in the past. At the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final, it was the left-arm pacer who wreaked havoc, helping Pakistan to the title.
Talking about the hype that an India vs Pakistan game usually tends to generate, Kohli said that the team will concentrate at the job at hand and not get carried away by the occasion. "We have literally discussed nothing different from the time we came to England. The atmosphere in the dressing room hasn't changed. We understand any game you can play for the country can be emotional, adrenaline filled. So, for us, no single game is more important than the other," Kohli said.
"Cricketers who have been selected to play for the country are responsible for treating every game equally. For us nothing in the change room is different, the conversation hasn't changed. We need to keep in mind we're a top team and focus on our strengths."
Though India might not have played Pakistan often in the past, the Indian skipper wasn’t concerned about it. "I don't see it as a massive challenge because even the teams that you know very well, you have to go out and play good cricket. More often than out, if the 11 guys execute what they have to do on the field with precision and focus, we end up winning. For us, we have to focus on our strengths. That's good enough for anyone in the world. We have to carry that belief. For us, familiar or unfamiliar oppositions don't matter. If you don't play well, you don't win," Kohli added.
Feature image courtesy: AFP Photo/ Dibyangshu Sarkar