Motivated Kohli plays down 'tiff' with Kumble ahead of Pakistan tie
Birmingham: On the eve of the high-octane ICC Champions Trophy match against Pakistan, India skipper Virat Kohli said the men-in-blue are cent percent motivated for the marquee clash besides trashing talk of any rift with head coach Anil Kumble.
The Indian team seem to have brought some discontent into the dressing room in England as news of Kohli and a few other senior players not being on the same page with Kumble spread like wildfire.
Speculation had been rife ever since the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chose not to automatically extend the tenure of Kumble as head coach, choosing instead to advertise the position on their website on May 25.
But Kohli chose to play down the speculation and said that the whole team is focussed on defending their Champions Trophy title.
"A lot of speculation and things are being written about me and Anil Kumble. There is a process of selecting the coach and there are no issues. I honestly don't know anything about this. The team is focused on Champions Trophy," Kohli said at the pre-match press conference.
"Working with Kumble has been good. The process of selecting a new coach will take its own course."
Kohli, however, indirectly admitted to a tiff with the former leg-spinner, saying there could be difference of opinion and such things are common in every walk of life.
"There are differences of opinion in every walk of life. I will just request that when you don't have knowledge on anything, please do not spread rumours. Let us focus on cricket," he said.
"We lack patience and make speculations from far. I don't focus on things that don't matter to me. People write wrong things and then do not own up."
Commenting on the team's preparations ahead of the much-anticipated match against the Green Brigade, Kohli said: "We are hundred per cent motivated for the Pakistan game. Pakistan can beat anyone on their day."
"We just have to play good cricket. As a team, Pakistan can surprise you. All you can do is focus on your skills. You should be good enough to handle a cricket ball, no matter whom you play. Have to come out on top," he added.
The 28-year-old right-hander, who will be leading India for the first time in a major International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament, said the added responsibility of being the captain doesn't affect his mindset.
"I am a normal human being. Whether I am captain or no captain, I will take the batting through. Captaincy gives me more responsibility. I am under no pressure and I don't look at a situation where I put myself under pressure. My mindset remains the same in all games," he said.
On the composition of the side for the opening game, Kohli said: "All kinds of possibilities to pick the team. Depends on the conditions. We will pick our best bowling attack. We are confident as a team. Great intensity in the team. But I can't comment on the team now."
"In shorter formats, no total is safe. Chasing 300 has become easy. You still have to bowl well and defend a total. Application is key. Nothing safe in this age."
Terming his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni's inputs as "priceless", Kohli said he had often sought advice from the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman during the course of a match.
"Priceless to have MS Dhoni thoughts in the team. I keep seeking his advice every now and then. More often than not we are thinking on similar lines. Both of us want to win a match," he said.