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Excited about captaining Team India in Cahmpions Trophy for first time: Virat Kohli

Excited about captaining Team India in Cahmpions Trophy for first time: Virat Kohli

London: India captain Virat Kohli admitted Thursday that he needs to prove his superstar status to English crowds at the Champions Trophy after his powers deserted him on his last visit to the country.

Kohli has a staggering average of over 90 in one-day cricket in the last 12 months and is fourth on the list for most centuries in the 50-over format with 27.

But the 28-year-old struggled in England three years ago, averaging under 20 across five Test matches.

“If you talk about the longer format of the game then I did not do well here three years ago,” said Kohli.

“I was not able to contribute to the team and I want to succeed, although not to prove a point. It motivates me further to come back and do better.

“For me, it is a game of cricket. From then to now, I have shown I am strong mentally. England brings a lot for challenges for a batsmen and I want to overcome them personally for my satisfaction at the end of my career. From that point of view, it is exciting for me.”

Kohli’s India won the last edition of the Champions Trophy, also played in England, in 2013, defeating the hosts by just five runs in a final reduced to 20 overs a side due to rain.

Kohli played a key role, ending the truncated game with a top score of 43.

The 2017 eight-nation Champions Trophy gets under way on June 1 and runs until June 18.

India are in the same group as bitter rivals Pakistan, against whom they open their campaign at Edgbaston on June 4, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

India have not played a 50-over match since beating England 2-1 on home ground in an ODI series in January.

“I am very excited to be playing as captain in my first major ICC competition,” added Kohli.

“As far as the team goes, we won last time because our fast bowlers did very well, our spinners were strong and our opening batsman did well. They were the main three factors.

“This year the team is a lot fitter, the cricketers are a lot more mature because that was a very young group four years ago.”

Kohli may be the star of the team, but old stagers Yuvraj Singh and former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni still have major roles to play.

“We needed to strengthen our lower middle order contribution. Too much burden was on MS (Dhoni),” said Kohli.

“He was not able to express himself. But now we are balanced, we have good fast bowlers, depth in batting and the series against England sealed it for us.

“We are in a good head-space going into this tournament, ” he added.
AFP