New Delhi: India’s best chances of defending the Champions Trophy title next month will be if they do not burden themselves with the prospect, skipper Virat Kohli said on Wednesday.
Kohli was part of the Indian team that trumped hosts England in the 2013 final at Edgbaston, and he said he recalled no creased foreheads in that victorious dressing room.
The same carefree attitude has been the hallmark of the Indian team who are currently the number one test side, and Kohli saw no reason why it would not work in the one-day format.
“When we went there last time, we just wanted to enjoy ourselves as a young unit and we ended up winning the tournament and creating a team which has done so well so far,” he said.
Kohli demanded from his team the kind of “ruthlessness” evident when they won 10 of 13 tests on home soil last season.
India’s batting mainstay also reminded his team that there would be little margin for error in the June 1-18 tournament featuring top eight one-day sides.
“Because the tournament is much shorter (than World Cup) and you got top eight teams in the world, the competitiveness of the tournament is much higher, right from the word go,” he said
India, who begin their Group B campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan in Birmingham on June 4, preferred experience over youth when selecting the squad, which includes former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and limited-overs stalwart Yuvraj Singh.
Kohli predicted significant contributions from both the senior players. “They are so experienced that given the freedom to play their natural game in the middle order, they know better than anyone else how to build an innings, how to take the team out from difficult positions and how to win matches,” he said.
“In the last series (against England), they batted freely and enjoyed each other’s company. When two of your greatest players play freely, it gives a lot of confidence to players batting above them,” he added.