India captain Virat Kohli swatted aside talks about a duel with Pakistan speedster Mohammad Amir and played down the hype around today’s game.
There has been plenty of hype surrounding Sunday’s sold out contest but Kohli refused to fuel it further.
“I think the best way to approach something like this... it’s not going to last a lifetime for you, whether you do well or you don’t,” Kohli said.
“Our tournament, whether we do well as a team tomorrow or we don’t, is not going to finish... So I think the focus always has to be on the larger picture.”
Kohli understands the fan sentiments but said the players have learned to cocoon themselves from the elevated expectations.
“I can’t tell the fans to think in a particular manner. For us, it has to be a professional approach to the game,” said the 30-year-old. “We can’t get emotional or over-excited with any occasion. Obviously the player’s mindset is different from the fans and you can’t mix these two.
“From fan point of view, looking at the atmosphere and frenzy around the game, I wouldn’t say it is easy to think like a player but for the players it’s very very crucial to be absolutely professional.”
An interesting sub-plot will be the showdown between Kohli, the world’s top ranked ODI batsman, and Pakistan’s pace spearhead Amir who claimed five wickets against Australia in Taunton.
“You may not believe me but I see only the red or white ball, not the bowler delivering it,” said Kohli.
“You should always be wary of the strength of an impact bowler. You should also have the self-belief to do well against any bowler.
“Also, the match won’t be decided by my runs or his wickets. There are 10 players on each side, they also have to play well. I’m not entering any personal contest or competition,” he added.
“You got to play well regardless of the bowler. Even part-timers will get you out if you are not playing well. I keep my game simple.”
Kohli acknowledged Pakistan have “a lot of talent” in their ranks but preferred to talk about his own team instead.
The threat of rain looms large over Sunday’s match as well and Kohli said weather would influence India’s combination.