Advantage India but handling pressure will be key: Harbhajan Singh

Defending champions India will be aiming to shut out off-field controversies when they lock horns with arch-rivals Pakistan in their ICC Champions Trophy opener - a marquee contest where tension and drama is never in short supply.

'It's the outside noise that there is. Within the dressing room, it's unbelievably calm.

Arthur, appointed Pakistan coach in May a year ago added: 'When we started this, the players would go and hit balls and hit balls and wouldn't really know when to stop. People got exactly what they wanted out of the training nets. However, with a half-century against New Zealand in India's first warm-up game, Kohli has shown signs of his getting back to his best.

"The way Dhoni has been able to win matches with a team with limited resources is remarkable", the former Pakistani opener said, adding, "Pakistan should definitely be scared of Dhoni, he is still a very risky player".

The team, according to reports in India, have told the administrators running their country's embattled cricket board that Kumble's style is "overbearing" and now former players Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, who comprise the three-man panel overseeing the appointment, must sort the truth from conjecture.

India skipper Virat Kohli had conceded that Champions Trophy is qualitatively much more competitive than the World Cup, with top eight teams battling it out in a condensed schedule.

Pandya asserted that they will approach the match as any other ordinary One-Day International (ODI) and its in the best interest of the team that they do not get under any pressure. This match supersedes every other game.

"That said, I quite like Sarfraz Ahmed, the wicketkeeper-batsman".

'I think the team that's going to win this competition is the team that can strike, ' he said.

'You've got to be able to take wickets.

In this article, we take a look at six players (three from each side) who can single-handedly change the course of the all-important clash on Super Sunday.

Mohammad Shami in full fitness and rhythm can pose a real threat to the Pakistan batsmen. Yuvraj is key to India's success, with his specialist batting and useful slow left arm orthodox bowling.

Shoaib Malik will appear in his sixth consecutive Champions Trophy and is a vital player for the Green Brigade.

He added: 'We've got everything at our disposal tomorrow to allow Saf (Sarfraz) to pull the strings to make sure we can try to bowl India out, because that's got to be priority number one'.

Both teams kick off their Champions Trophy campaign with this pressure match.

"We don't know what's going on, that's India's problem to be honest", he said.

  • Julie Sanders