India’s best chance of defending the Champions Trophy title next month will be if they do not burden themselves with that prospect, skipper Virat Kohli said on Wednesday.
Kohli was part of the Indian team that defeated hosts England in the 2013 final at Edgbaston, and he said he recalled no creased foreheads in that victorious dressing room.
The same carefree attitude has been the hallmark of the Indian team that are currently the No.1 Test side, and Kohli saw no reason why it would not work in the one-day format.
“I think the first challenge is not to think that we are defending the title,” the 28-year-old told reporters.
“When we went there last time, we just wanted to enjoy ourselves as a young unit and we ended up winning the tournament and creating a team which has done so well so far.
“Right now, the mindset is very similar – to go out there and enjoy our cricket, which we’ve done in the past couple of years.”
Kohli demanded from his team the kind of “ruthlessness” evident when they won 10 of 13 Tests on home soil last season.
India’s batting mainstay also reminded his team that there would be little margin for error in the June 1-18 tournament featuring the top eight one-day sides.
“Because the tournament is much shorter (than World Cup) and you got top eight teams in the world, the competitiveness of the tournament is much higher, right from the word go,” he said.
“In Champions Trophy, you need to be on top of your game from game one.
“If not, your chances go down pretty soon.
“I think that’s the biggest challenge in Champions Trophy.”