“Yeah, I’m sure it’s going to be a very good — very well-contested match. Both teams obviously want to win the final. They’ve worked really hard to be there, to stand in the final, and I’m sure that every player is going to come out and give their 120 per cent, and if 11 players from both sides end up doing that, it’s going to be an exciting encounter. I don’t see any relevance of the first game in this one.”
Indian captain Virat Kohli wants to focus on the big final against Pakistan at The Oval on Sunday by staying away from the hype on social media, calling it a distraction.
The arch-rivals meet in the Champions Trophy final in a match billed as “mother of all contests” and “bigger than the Ashes,” but Indian captain calls it a normal game.
“The biggest thing is to stay off social media. Honestly, it sounds funny, but it’s so important to stay away from those things, to connect to things that matter, the things that a sportsman needs to take care of. You know, connecting to yourselves within, taking a bit more time to do stuff which you don’t normally get to do and stay away from everything.
“It’s tough, but you have to make that sort of effort to stay in a good zone and a good mindset, to be happy playing second fiddle in a big tournament like this throughout all the games to be thinking about bouncing back after a setback. All those things I’ve learned a lot how to handle certain things.
“And that can only happen when you’re able to connect with yourself first. If you’re too distracted listening to too many suggestions or players or criticism, then you can’t focus on what you need to think as a sportsman first to be able to lead the team and then help the others in the team, as well. Yeah, that’s probably been the biggest learning. To be able to maintain that balance nicely has been a good thing for me.”
Kohli said India did normal things in practice.
“Even today’s practice was something extra. There’s no overexcitement. People are just doing the normal things that they do in any practice session, and that’s the kind of approach we have maintained throughout the tournament, and as I said last time, it’s just another game of cricket tomorrow, and whatever the result, we have to go forward and play more games after that.
“The more relaxed you stay in these kind of situations, it’s a good thing because it helps you take better decisions when you are composed and calm mentally and you can help the team come out of difficult situations only if you’re thinking in that fashion. We have changed nothing from the first day we came here honestly.”
Kohli said the final will be a new game and there will be no effects of their 124-run big win over the same rivals.
“I don’t see any relevance of the first game here because you can never tell how a particular team starts a tournament. Some teams start very confidently and then they fade off. Some teams might not have the best starts, and they come back amazingly, which Pakistan has done.
“So everyone is aware of the kind of talent they have in their team, and on their day they can beat any side in the world. That’s the kind of players they have, and that’s the kind of ability they have in their side. So we’re quite aware of that. But at the same time, neither are we too intimidated nor are we too arrogant about what we are doing. It’s important to maintain the balance of being confident in your own skill and what you are doing as a team.”
Kohli hoped it will not be a mis-match like the June 4 game.