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ICC Champions Trophy semis: Why Virat Kohli won’t take Bangladesh for granted

Virat Kohli said the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semi-final against Bangladesh will be a fresh game and past records will have no significance at Edgbaston.

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 15, 2017 12:25 IST
Soumitra Bose
India cricket captain Virat Kohli believes Bangladesh are a dangerous side but is confident in the ability of his own players.
India cricket captain Virat Kohli believes Bangladesh are a dangerous side but is confident in the ability of his own players. (AFP)

Virat Kohli chose to play down recent records as defending champions India have judiciously taken the ICC Champions Trophy semifinal against Bangladesh at Edgbaston on Thursday with all the seriousness it deserves.

“We will treat it as our last game,” said Kohli, adding that India have the momentum after their big win against South Africa. “We just need to execute another perfect game,” the skipper said in reference to India’s eight-wicket win at The Oval on Sunday.

Thursday’s fixture will be the first ever between India and Bangladesh in Champions Trophy and even though recent records show India have won twice and lost as many against Bangladesh, Kohli said “we are not going out to prove a point”.

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The build-up to the India versus Bangladesh match has been quite spicy.

Taunting Indian cricketers in social media and also by a section of the Bangladesh press have added to the fire but Kohli reacted in a manner a top captain should, with respect and grace.

‘DANGEROUS SIDE’

Appreciating Bangladesh’s steady rise in limited-overs cricket, Kohli said: “Bangladesh are a dangerous side. They have skilful players who are passionate and have made huge strides in international cricket.”

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Bangladesh have qualified for the ICC Champions Trophy for the first time and their win against New Zealand in the group stage have put them in a good space. And Kohli is aware.

“We have never taken any side for granted and we have the same mindset for the Bangladesh game. The Champions Trophy has seen upsets and the knockouts are a different zone,” Kohli said.

The India skipper said India have been in such situations before in international cricket, hinting that his players are better placed at handling the pressure of a knockout contest.

Kohli said he was “not bothered at all” that India’s middle-order has hardly been tested.

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“Give them an opportunity and they are ready to find off games. Guys like Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya and even Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) are waiting for their opportunity to impress. That’s the best part of this team,” said Kohli.

NO CHANGE LIKELY

Kohli indicated that India may not change a winning combination. Ravichandran Ashwin, who came in place of Umesh Yadav in the last match against the Proteas, is likely to retain his place.

“Ashwin was brilliant. We had a complete game and there is no need to change,” said Kohli.

Kohli, himself in good space, said he was taking the Bangladesh game like another ODI match.

“There are no special plans and I will like to keep things simple.

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“As far as I am concerned, I will approach this match like any other IPL, Ranji Trophy or India game...my mindset doesn’t change at all.”

The fact that Kohli admits that there are “no guarantees” in cricket put the India vs Bangladesh Champions Trophy semifinal in the right perspective.