We are looking to maintain our record against India: Sarfraz

After a warm-up game against New Zealand and Bangladesh, India is set to lock horns with Pakistan on June 4. I have never experienced that in a side, you know, not eleven but all the fifteen guys in the squad were in the mindset. With all due respect, whatever else is going on, as a cricketer, you can't even think about your partner at the other end when you are batting. During a game, when Kohli stood by the boundary line watching the game, a commentator said "You must be gutted to have missed out on this great competition" and Kohli immediately piped up "The priority is playing for India". It's different for them.

Last time, Australia were amongst the weakest teams in the competition but this time, they will be coming with a team comprising of the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Chris Lynn, and Glenn Maxwell, just to name a few. "Playing for India, you don't need extra motivation".

Kohli, however warned his team against any sort of complacency. One of the two best balanced sides in the world at the moment.

England will kick off their Champions Trophy against Bangladesh at The Oval, hoping to make amends for their 2013 campaign in which they lost out to India in the final by five runs.

England are in the middle of their three-match ODI series against the Proteas and have already taken a 1-0 lead after winning the first match.

Former Australian cricketer Mike Hussey is of the opinion that the fate of the 2017 Champions Trophy will be decided by an England-Australia final. I think those could go on to be the most competitive games you could be part of before a tournament like the Champions Trophy. Manchester is not a venue for the Champions Trophy, which will be played in London, Birmingham and Cardiff, but the world body will not like to take any chances. We ended up winning the tournament and created a team which has done so well so far. In Test cricket we have reached the top.

Kohli may be the star of the team these days, but expects his seniors Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni to flourish in the tournament. "We always related to England as a very strong Test team, but in last two or three years post [the 2015] World Cup, they've really changed the way they play their cricket", he said.

Speaking to the media prior to the team's departure for the tournament in England, Kohli responded to a query suggesting that redemption was on his mind by saying, "I don't think about redemption at all. As far pressure is concerned, it is about handling one game at a time, as you build up to every game, you start becoming a favorite".

"During the last Champions Trophy - one of the two takeaways for us was the opening partnership".

  • Julie Sanders