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ICC Champions Trophy: India- England final? Virat Kohli says ready for any rival

At a reception organised by the Indian high commission in the historic Long Room of Lord’s, India captain Virat Kohli said the team is ready for any opponent at the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: Jun 13, 2017 09:53 IST
Champions Trophy 2017,ICC Champions Trophy,Indian cricket team
Virat Kohli said India would be ready for any opponent if they reach the ICC Champions Trophy final.(HT Photo)

The great and the good of cricket came together in the historic Long Room of Lord’s on Monday, with some hoping for an India-England final in the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy, but captain Virat Kohli said the team is ready for any rival.

Mixing nostalgia with recent exploits at the reception organised by the Indian high commission were legends Mike Brearley and Farokh Engineer, as well as past and contemporary icons such as Dilip Doshi, Monty Panesar, Andrew Strauss and Anil Kumble.

The Indian cricket team at the event held by the country’s mission in UK. (HT Photo)

The event was a precursor to the Cricket@IndiaUK exhibition at the Nehru Centre here as part of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017. Curated by the Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai, it narrates the hoary history of Indian cricket since the early twentieth century.

A prominent display at the event was the image of Hindustan Times edition of June 26, 1932, which reported the first ever Test between India (led by CK Nayudu) and England (led by Douglas Jardine) at Lord’s, also known as the ‘Mecca’ of cricket; the headlines included ‘Brilliant fielding by Indians’.

A cut-out of the Hindustan Times edition of June 26, 1932. (HT Photo)

Brearley, one of the most successful England captains, recalled playing against India in the 1970s and called the legendary leg spinner, B S Chandrasekhar, who was the scourge of England batsmen during the 1971 tour, “a great bowler”.

Engineer recalled that during his days players would be paid Rs 50 per day, and said Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was the best captain he played under: “Tiger Pataudi was special”, he told veteran cricket commentator, Ashis Ray. The late Pataudi’s wife, Sharmila Tagore, was in the audience.

Engineer paid tributes to the visiting team, and said: “This is perhaps the best Indian side ever”.

Indian high commissioner YK Sinha recalled the long cricketing ties between the two countries, and hoped India and England meet in the ongoing Champions Trophy final: “And may the best team win”.

A newly published book traces the history of cricket in India. (HT Photo)

A confident Kohli acknowledged the hope among many for such a line-up in the final, but said the team was ready to take on any adversary: “It doesn’t matter who we play against, we are ready”.

An illustrated book titled ‘Cricket Connects: India-England Cricket Relations’ has been published along with the exhibition, tracing the various aspects of the game in India over history, including India’s baptism in international cricket, coming of age, and exploits in the World Cup.

First Published: Jun 13, 2017 09:45 IST