Blast disturbing but Champions Trophy is paramount in our thoughts: Kohli

Defending champions India will begin their campaign in the Champions Trophy with a high-profile match against arch-rivals Pakistan on June 4 in Birmingham, which is less than 100 miles from the affected city.
File pic of Virat Kohli - India TV
PTI London 25 May 2017, 09:34 PM IST

Virat Kohli arrived at the United Kingdom heartbroken but the Manchester blast has failed to break his unwavering focus on cricket, as the India captain geared up for a tournament that is of "paramount importance". 

Defending champions India will begin their campaign in the Champions Trophy with a high-profile match against arch-rivals Pakistan on June 4 in Birmingham, which is less than 100 miles from the affected city. 

"Firstly, what happened here a few days back was really saddening and very disturbing for everyone who saw it. And especially a place like England, to say the least, has not had many of these incidents happen in the past. So, yeah, I mean, for a few people it can be sort of a nervous time. But I don't think as a squad you have time to focus on those factors, because eventually you understand that you're here for a sporting tournament," Kohli said on arrival. 

He said the players are not nervous despite the heightened security all around and relentless briefings.

"...And that for us remains paramount in our thought patterns. And I personally don't feel any nervousness as such. I saw life resume pretty normally. And that's always a healthy sign," he said.

The Indian batting mainstay seemed satisfied with the security apparatus in place. 

"We have security briefings throughout the day. We have a lot more information in terms of specifics that we need to keep in mind. I see life resuming very normally. And obviously with the security information coming in as well, it will be very helpful for the players, you know. ... What are the areas we can access? What times we can access it? What are the areas we need to avoid? All the sort of things obviously come into play when you have a situation like this which the players need to respect." 

Pointing out the significance of the tournament, he said, "I'm sure there's going to be a lot of transparency about the issue, because there's a lot at stake for everyone here. The cricketers, the ICC, ECB, everyone is worried about everyone's security. So I'm sure it's going to be taken care of." 

Entering the ODI tournament after a long home Test season followed by the IPL, Kohli stressed on the need to be fit physically as well as mentally. 

"I think the only challenge I feel is taking care of your body. Mentally, it's up to individuals to base their game in a way that they can switch pretty quickly, because that is the need of the game in this day and age," he said. 

"I personally don't like to choose formats and give preference to one over the other. I like to be involved in all three equally. Try to contribute as much as I can. And I'm sure all the guys on the team think in that manner as well. I think it's just a little mental adjustment. But it's the physical care of your body that's paramount, I think, to switch between formats because the body reacts very differently to different formats." 

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