Mumbai: India captain Virat Kohli has said handling pressure at the World Cup will be the most important thing and the team will have to play every game with the same intensity as competition is going to be tough. “There cannot be any room for complacency. That’s why it is the World Cup,” Kohli said during the pre-departure press conference at the BCCI headquarters, here on Tuesday.
“Handling pressure is the most important thing in the World Cup and not necessarily the conditions. All our bowlers are fresh. No one looks fatigued,” he said. The 15-member Indian team will leave for English shores on Wednesday. “This is the challenge. It’s like top class clubs in the world of football. They maintain their intensity for five months, be it the La Liga or the English Premier League. We have to play every game with the same intensity,” said Kohli who will be captaining the team at the event for the first time.
All eyes will be on India’s clash with arch rivals Pakistan on June 16. Kohli said they would focus on their own potential and look to play every team on its merit, rather than concentrating too much on one opponent. “We have to play to our potential. We can’t play thinking about any particular team. We have to maintain our intensity irrespective of the opposition throughout the tournament,” the 30-year old stressed.
According to head coach Ravi Shastri, if India played to their potential, they can lay their hands on a third trophy. But the competition would be tough as all teams were stronger than before, he added. “World Cup might be a stage, but the stage is to be enjoyed. If we play to our potential then the Cup might be back here. It’s a tough competition. Even Bangladesh and Afghanistan are much stronger than in 2015,” Shastri said.
On MS Dhoni, Shastri said the 37-year old former India captain would be a vital cog in the team’s plans. Also, there was no better wicket-keeper in the game than him at present, he added. “You don’t need to tell him. He will be right there doing what he does. His communication with Virat has been fantastic. As a wicket-keeper, there is no one better than him. Those little moments can change the game, and there is no one better. The way he was moving in the IPL shows he is in a fine form. He will be a big player for us in the World Cup,” Shastri said. India will take on South Africa in their campaign opener on June 5.