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Looking Forward To Play Against Pakistan: Virat Kohli

Melbourne [Australia]: Star Indian batter Virat Kohli said that he cannot wait to play against arch-rivals Pakistan in front of a packed crowd of over 1 lakh cricket-crazy fans at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

India will take on Pakistan at MCG on Sunday in their ICC T20 World Cup clash. “More than the game, I am looking forward to that moment (playing in front of 1 lakh supporters). The last time I experienced such a moment was at Eden Gardens where I think there were around 90,000 fans. It was a packed stadium. When I walked out, there were legends of the game like you know, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis,” said Virat at Star Sports programme ‘Cricket Live’ on Saturday.

“The atmosphere was electrifying, but I needed to focus because you can get pulled into that environment.’ The same was at Mohali in the World Cup. There is a different atmosphere that is built during World Cup matches. It is a different feeling, and you can sense that build-up, you know there is this nervousness in the area, anticipation, and everyone is buzzing. I love those moments. It is actually these moments that are part of the whole experience. You play to actually live these moments,” he added.

On his equation with Rohit Sharma, who took over as an all-format skipper from Kohli, Virat said that the understanding and vision of both regarding the game are similar and they always discuss how they can lead Men in Blue to wins in big tournaments.

“Our discussions are always on how do we win big tournaments and then, our planning and preparations are directed towards that. Ever since I have come back to the team, the atmosphere has been very good. Whenever there is this healthy camaraderie within the group, then you look forward to doing anything you can for the team. So, our understanding and vision for the game has always been similar,” he said.

“We always work towards covering all the loopholes no matter how small they are. We solidify such aspects and move ahead. It is very free-flowing and all pointed towards our main goal. Everyone’s relaxed and knows they are confident and prepared. It’s just how to handle the pressure that matters. In these times, we try and lead the group for big matches and make an impact that will sort of relax the others. Once that momentum sets in, then everyone knows that you can ride that wave,” he added.

On Suryakumar Yadav’s form and batting with him, the star batter said that it is great space to be out in the middle with Suryakumar, who has a lot of fun because of his skill and ability.

“He just asks how the ball is coming from the wicket and then, within 2-3 balls, he gauges the wicket and then gets going. During our partnership, he says that he will take his chances and just wants me to be there with him. So, I play a different role when I am out there with him, which I am enjoying because it works beautifully well for the team,” he added.

Suryakumar Yadav is going through the form of his life this year. In 23 matches, he has scored 801 runs at an average of 40.05. He has scored a century and six half-centuries this year, with the best score of 117.

At the ICC competition, India is in Group 2 with Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Netherlands, and Zimbabwe.

Following their October 23 encounter against Pakistan at the MCG, they will play on October 27, against the Netherlands in Sydney, on October 30, against South Africa in Perth, on November 2, against Bangladesh in Adelaide, and on November 6 against Zimbabwe in Melbourne.

India squad for ICC T20 World Cup: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Shami.



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