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No extra motivation needed to play against Pakistan: Kohli

By Harish Kotian
Last updated on: May 24, 2017 18:04 IST
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When asked if India should play Pakistan under the political circumstances, Kohli declined to comment

A file photo of Virat Kohli greeting Pakistan's Shahid Afridi during a training session

IMAGE: A file photo of Virat Kohli greeting Pakistan's Shahid Afridi during a training session. Photograph: PTI

India captain Virat Kohli said the team are treating the high-profile clash against Pakistan in the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy next month as just another game and players need no extra motivation to play against their neighbours.

“Yes, an Indo-Pak game is always exciting. For people watching in the stadium, the game is different. If you ask players from both sides, it is like any other game. We prepare for it like it is any other game. The atmosphere around the ground is different. But in our heads, playing against any other team, be it England Australia South Africa it is all the same,” Kohli said in Mumbai on Wednesday, on the eve of team’s departure to England for the Champions Trophy.

Defending champions India will open their campaign in the eight-team tournament against arch-rivals Pakistan, in Birmingham, on June 4.

Second seeds India are placed in Group B, which also comprises third seed South Africa, fifth seed Sri Lanka and eighth seed Pakistan.

India captain Virat Kohli speaks at a press conference on the eve of the team's departure to England for the Champions Trophy 

IMAGE: India captain Virat Kohli speaks at a press conference on Wednesday, prior to the team's departure to England for the Champions Trophy. Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

After playing Pakistan, India are scheduled to play Sri Lanka on June 8 and South Africa on June 11 in London. 

“There is no need to talk to anyone. It is not the first time we are playing against them. There is no need to prepare differently for the game. We go about it the same way. There is no need to motivate players any differently. If you are playing for India, there is no need for any separate motivation. There is no need to be extra motivated against one particular side. Yes, you need to be passionate, but there is no need to get emotional. You need to play with the same kind of passion regardless of who you play against,” he added.

When asked if India should play Pakistan under the political circumstances, Kohli declined to comment.

Head-to-head, India have dominated Pakistan in the World T20 and the 50-over World Cup, with a 11-0 record.

However, in the Champions Trophy, Pakistan have a superior record with two wins against India's first win over their rivals coming only in the last edition, in 2013.

The Men in Blue last won the tournament in 2013 when they defeated England in the final by five runs under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

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