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Virat Kohli says ICC Champions Trophy more competitive than World Cup

Virat Kohli, India captain, says there is little room for error in the ICC Champions Trophy. India won the last Champions Trophy in 2013 and head into June’s tournament in England and Wales as favourites after a hugely successful home season with 10 Test wins

icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: May 25, 2017 08:34 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Champions Trophy 2017,ICC Champions Trophy,Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli-led India are going into the ICC Champions Trophy as the defending champions.(BCCI)

India captain Virat Kohli said on Wednesday his side would be ruthless in defending their Champions Trophy title next month, describing the competition as tougher even than the World Cup.

India won the last Champions Trophy in 2013 and head into June’s tournament in England and Wales as favourites after a hugely successful home season with 10 Test wins.

They are number one in the Test rankings after series victories over New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia, and hope to carry that form into the 50-over Champions Trophy event.

Read | ICC Champions Trophy: Virat Kohli says India-Pakistan is like any other game

“The hunger to win and ruthlessness is what we speak about all the time. In Test cricket we have done well with that mindset,” Kohli told reporters in Mumbai before the squad’s departure for England.

“That goes a long way in a tournament like this. If we think in that manner, we will get the results we want more often than not.”

India will play South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Group B, while England, Australia, Bangladesh and New Zealand form Group A. The two top sides from each group will progress to the semi-finals.

Little room for error

Kohli, who was part of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side in 2013 that claimed the Trophy, said the eight-team event offered little room for error.

“I think because the tournament is much shorter and you have got top eight teams in the world, the competitiveness is much higher from the word go,” said Kohli.

Read | ICC Champions Trophy: Pakistan’s Haris Sohail vows to give his best against India

“In a World Cup you have league games and you have time to get into the tournament and dominate in the later half. But in Champions Trophy you need to be on the top of your game from game one. If not, then your chances go down pretty soon.”

India have retained eight members of their title-winning squad that overcame England in 2013.

Kohli described wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni and veteran batsman Yuvraj Singh as “the two pillars” of the current Indian side.

“They have so much experience that if you give them freedom to play their own game in the middle order then I am sure they are the best judge of how to win a game,” said Kohli, who assumed the one-day international captaincy from Dhoni in January.

Read | Ravichandran Ashwin looks forward to practice games ahead of ICC Champions Trophy

‘Totally match-fit’

Kohli suffered a shoulder injury during the Australia series to miss the final game. He then returned to skipper Indian Premier League side Royal Challengers Bangalore, only to see them end last in the ladder.

But he was confident the Twenty20 tournament had made him match-fit, a boon ahead of the short-format Champions Trophy event.

“I don’t think you can have too much similarity in both formats but getting some game time it helps a lot of people to stay in the zone of being match-fit,” he said.

“...IPL allows you to be in that zone. Play against the world class players from all the teams. It could be the most competitive game that you could be a part of (in IPL) before the Champions Trophy.”

First Published: May 24, 2017 21:35 IST