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Kohli turns off social media ahead of Pakistan clash

18 June 2017

In a coincidence, Virat Kohli and Sarfraz Ahmed will not be the only captains leading their respective sides out for an India-Pakistan sporting contest, or "war" as fans would prefer calling it, in London on Sunday.

Team India captain Virat Kohli at training ahead of final against Pakistan.

"If we can get amongst them with the new ball, we can expose the middle order that hasn't batted much this competition. that's pretty much our aim and focus", Arthur said.

Not many would have thought this edition of the Champions Trophy would end the long wait, especially on the back of how comprehensively India humbled their arch rivals two Sundays ago at Edgbaston.

Amir, however, has become a mainstay of the Pakistan team since returning to the side last year, appearing in 47 of the team's 57 matches across all worldwide formats following his comeback from a five-year ban. India, too, would like to forget their only loss to Sri Lanka and come into this game with high confidence.

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Syed Talat Hussain, political analyst at Pakistan's Geo Television, told The Associated Press that the Pakistan-India final is a "is a softer version of a war".

On the eve of Sunday's high-profile rematch he also said the Birmingham encounter was an "aberration", entirely uncharacteristic these days of a team who often glory in their reputation for unpredictability.

Both the sides made it to the final after demolishing their opponents in the semis. India has won the Champions Trophy twice and the Cricket World Cup twice, but never successfully defended a title.

'You can't think of those things when you step on to the field, ' said Kohli.

"If you are too distracted listening to too many suggestions or players or criticism, then you can not focus on what you need to think as a sportsman first to be able to lead the team and then help the others in the team, as well". However, he is aware of the potential pitfalls of social media when India tackle Pakistan in cricket. When asked about the preparation and the team's approach about the much-hyped match, Kohli said, "We have not spoken about the game in any different way". There was nothing to shout about Pakistan's opener - a 124-run humiliation by none other than India. That's the kind of ability they have. It is resurgent Pakistan, and that is when they become a unsafe side.

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India lost once in the tournament against Sri Lanka but have proved that was an aberration by scripting commanding victories over South Africa in a do-or-die game and then Bangladesh in the semi-final. "But I can tell you one thing - we have come to win". We came here very firmly of the opinion that we wanted to win it, and that has been our chat all the time.

"In an India-Pakistan match the pressure can be there and the bowler can also get disturbed if a few boundaries are scored", he said.

That appears unlikely this weekend, amid escalating tensions as India accuses Pakistan of supporting terrorism and backing separatist rebels in the disputed region of Kashmir - charges Pakistan denies. "We're now moving forward". And contrastingly, while fans are ready to pay exorbitant prices to catch a piece of the cricket, those with tickets for the hockey are trying to dispose them off.

"You know, connecting to yourself within, taking a bit more time to do stuff which you don't normally get to do, stay away from everything".

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Kohli turns off social media ahead of Pakistan clash