On the eve of the marquee India-Pakistan clash at the World Cup, India captain Virat Kohli said on Saturday that while Mohammad Amir remained a threat, his team will focus on the other bowlers as much as on the left-arm speedster.
“I am not going to say anything for TRPs,” Kohli said in the pre-match presser in Manchester.
“You have to respect any bowler’s strength. You should have faith in your ability to score against any bowler. I just focus on the white ball or the red ball, regardless of the bowler. There are 10 other players to impact the game,” the India captain said.
The last time India played Pakistan in an ICC tournament was in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy when Amir wiped out the mighty Indian top order comprising Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Kohli inside the first nine overs. India went on to lose the match by 180 runs.
While Amir’s form took a dip since then, he seems to have returned to his destructive best in the ongoing World Cup, recording his best ever ODI figures of 5/30 in Pakistan’s previous game against Australia.
Kohli also did not disclose whether India will go with the same bowling combination as in the previous two matches or go for an extra pace option. “We will consider different combinations depending on the conditions. If extra pace is an option, we will consider it. If it is a shortened game, we will consider it as well,” he said.
Kohli said that despite the hype surrounding the much-awaited fixture, the mood in the dressing room was the same as it would be for any other game. “The mood in the dressing room is no different than previous games. We have to play as per our strengths and the way we have played in the other matches,” he said.
The build-up to the game has predictably seen a war on social media and through advertisements from both camps. When asked what message Kohli had for the fans, the skipper said: “Watch and enjoy… it’s just a cricket match.”
The match at the Old Trafford in Manchester is scheduled to begin at 10.30 a.m. local time (3 p.m. IST).
India have played three matches in the tournament so far, winning two while one was a washout. Pakistan have played four matches thus far, off which they have lost two, won one, while one was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled.