Kohli: No problems between me and Kumble

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed says that the pressure is all on India ahead of their clash with their bitter rivals in the Champions Trophy on Sunday.

Kumble's contract ends this month but the decision to advertise his job ahead of the Champions Trophy, a tournament featuring the world's top eight one-day global sides, led historian Ramachnadra Guha to resign in protest from a a Supreme Court-appointed committee overseeing the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Most cricket pundits remember his spell to Shane Watson in the 2015 World Cup when he has Watson hopping.

"A lot of speculation and things are being written about me and Anil Kumble".

"There are no problems whatsoever". As I mentioned before, if something is put in place as a process, I mean, I don't see why people are speculating so much about it. It was followed last time also.

"It's just happening again after 12 months".

"Only a few players are still in the team who played against India here in the Champions Trophy (in 2013)". A lot of people like to find a lot of rumours flying around, especially before the start of the tournament. And not being familiar with the way they bowl or bat, I don't think it's going to be a massive factor for us because we, as a team, like to focus on what we can do. He's also been a scourge for India during one of their previous Champions Trophy encounters.

Meanwhile Pakistan's Mickey Arthur compared the relationship between a coach and captain to that of a marriage. Within the dressing room, it's unbelievably calm.

On the pitch, India would go into the tie as favourites, as former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi has also said - not only due to their emphatic 45 and 240 -run wins in the two warm-up games, but because the opposition doesn't smell the same anymore.

"We don't know what's going on", Pakistan coach Arthur, also speaking at Edgbaston, told reporters.

"If you're on the same page you get correct decisions and you give clarity to your team".

While strictly speaking that may not be true as Pakistan could yet slip behind the West Indies into ninth by the September cut-off for automatic qualification, Sarfraz likely thinks that his team are on an upward trajectory.

A sell-out crowd is expected at the Edgbaston ground in Birmingham - a city with one of the largest Asian populations in Britain - while the worldwide television audience for Sunday's match could run into the billions. "We can not think its India and we have to lift ourselves because that would be very unprofessional", he added. Yes, I thought Australia probably adjusted a little bit too late.

"We are ready for the big game".

The contest between the two arch-rivals is being seen as not just a "game" among fans, but more of a point to be proven. "I never played irresponsibly even when I wasn't captain", he said.

"It's nothing different, I know it sounds pretty boring but this is exactly what we feel as cricketers", he said. "You need to be 100 per cent motivated playing for the country regardless of who you're facing".

The cricketing rivalry between the two nations has always been exciting to watch and no matter in what form the other team is, an India-Pakistan cricket match is always a special one. In a tournament like this, you can't pick and choose.

  • Julie Sanders