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24 May, 2019 10:01:45 AM
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Pressure a massive factor in the second half of WC: Kohli

Independent Online Desk
Pressure a massive factor in the second half of WC: Kohli
"We want players to focus on their skills, turn up on the day and hopefully have that skill set better than the opposition". Photo: ICC

In the World Cup pre-departure press conference, Virat Kohli spoke about the importance of intensity and how it'll shape any side's future in the tournament.

At the pre-tournament captain's conference, the India captain continued from that and stressed that guarding against complacency is going to key as well. Kohli has already termed this as the most challenging World Cup ever and felt the loss against Australia at home has helped his side prepare well for the mega tournament.

India were 2-0 up against Australia but ended up losing the next three to concede the series.

"If a team on a given day, gets together against an experienced side, and believes more that they can win, it can happen," Kohli said on Thursday (May 23). "We learnt a lot from the Australia series. We were 2-0 up and we thought we are going to win one out of three, but they showed more passion, more character and more determination than us. Australia enjoyed every moment which we took a lot of learning from. If you play anyone in the World Cup, you have to have that passion and that commitment."

While India and England walk into the tournament as favourites, the challenge posed by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa means all sides feel they are in with a chance. Kohli pointed out that focusing on any other opponent, their strength and weaknesses, could be a deterrent and it's crucial his players direct their attention to their own skill set.

"In the World Cup, you look at the first 4-5 games you play because you are going play nine and it's how you prepare. We don't single out any games because all 10 teams are strong. If we play good cricket we are going to be in a good position. There are too many things to focus on the teams. We want players to focus on their skills, turn up on the day and hopefully have that skill set better than the opposition," he said.

"India-Pakistan is a very anticipated match but we keep saying that it's very different for us from the way the fans look at it. You feel the anticipation of the fans when you enter the ground but as soon as you step on the field, it's all professional. It's a bowler trying to execute his skills and a batsman trying to execute his skills to the best of the potential. For us, it's just another game that you need to win as a team. It brings pressure because the atmosphere is different but you feel it only till you start competing."

With high scores in England being a trend, it is believed the teams will breach the above-par score mark quite frequently. Kohli, however, deviated from that judgement and felt scores of 250 will be defended as well. "I feel 260-280 is going to be as difficult as to chase 380. I don't see high-scoring games in the latter half of the tournament. You'll see 250 defended as well," he said. " Not all teams are going to be at the same level. The fact that you are going to get closer to the knockout stage will have an impact as well. Teams would like to start in a balanced way and find their way in the game and then look to capitalise on the moment. I see pressure playing a massive factor in the second half."

Kohli's form and stature going into the tournament have already made his the prime target for the oppositions. Jofra Archer has boomed he's targetting Kohli's wicket at the World Cup while teams have been spending more time planning against the India captain. Kohli, on his part, marked Archer and Rashid Khan as the x-factor bowlers.

"As an individual, you don't really focus on who wants to get you out or if you are being spoken about more. I take a lot of pride in making impact performances. Jofra is a world-class bowler and there's a good reason why he has been included. He's going to be England's x-factor because he holds a skill set which is very different. He can generate a lot of pace which can be intimidating and you don't really expect that from him because of his run-up," Kohli stressed. "Rashid's variations are very subtle and he just doesn't give you any time at all. He brings the fast bowler intensity to spin bowling. He's going to be very important for Afghanistan."

India will play their warm-up games against New Zealand and Bangladesh on May 25 and 28 respectively before starting their campaign against South Africa on June 5 in Southampton.Cricbuzz.

KK

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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