Captain Kohli wants relaxed India in Champions Trophy

We go in with that mindset and that goes a long way in a tournament like this.

India, the defending champions, will play two matches, and so will the remaining five teams, with England and South Africa not taking part in any of the warm-up games, as the host nation and the Proteas are now involved in an ODI series. "In the IPL you play against world class players in all teams and they provided very competitive games before the Champions Trophy", he said.

Reporter:- Considering the present Indo-Pak relations, do you think India should be playing against Pakistan, or you think a cricket match can become a platform to improve relations and cut down tensions?

"We needed to strengthen our lower middle order contribution".

"I don't think you can have too much similarity in both formats".

"He was not able to express himself". "We don't do well overseas, it's like a knife hanging over your head", he said. "It's about execution now". There is no need to be extra motivated against one particular side. "In a tournament like this it all boils down to how you execute on the day".

Kohli has a staggering average of over 90 in one-day cricket in the last 12 months and is fourth on the list for most centuries in the 50-over format with 27. If not, your chances go down pretty soon.

"If every member of the team gives it his all in the match against India, I am sure results will come". What we've got to see is how freely they played in the last series (versus England). "From that point of view, it is exciting for me", he added.

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has insisted that his side is under no pressure and have nothing to lose at the upcoming Champions Trophy beginning June 1 in England and Wales. It was a concert of famous pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester where a suicide bomb attack took away the lives of 22 innocent people, leaving around 60 injured, some with life-threatening injuries.

The match against India is on June 4 in Edgbaston and the Champions Trophy is the only ICC event where Pakistan have a better win-loss record.

"Neeraj Kumarji was anyhow supposed to travel with the team but had to go early after the attack", a senior BCCI official told AFP.

Kohli, however, dismissed talk of the Champions Trophy being a redemptive opportunity after he managed only 134 runs in 10 innings during India's Test tour of England in 2014. "You're here for a sporting tournament, and that remains paramount". One of the names to watch out for will be Bangladesh's fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman who will be playing his first major ICC tournament. "What happened here was really saddening and very disturbing for everyone, especially in a place like England, (which) has not had many of these incidents in the past".

  • Julie Sanders