Indian captain Virat Kohli says staying focussed on the bigger goal was important since the World Cup would not end with the highly-anticipated India vs Pakistan match on Sunday.
The Indian captain was asked several times the same question about the external pressure and how tough this match could be and he warded off all the queries, refusing to play into the hype of the contest.
“The game starts at a certain time and finishes at a certain time. So this is not going to last a lifetime, if you do well or even if you don’t,” Kohli was at his pragmatic best during the pre-match interaction in Manchester.
For the skipper, the bigger picture – winning the World Cup – is what matters the most.
“Whether we do well or not tomorrow, it’s not going to finish. The tournament still has to go on and focus has to be on larger picture. No one person takes more pressure than the others.
“Eleven guys share the responsibility. The weather is not in anyone’s hands. We have to see whatever amount of game we get, we need to be mentally ready to do whatever we need to,” the skipper added.
Kohli has played 12 ODIs against Pakistan in his career to date, averaging 45.90 with two centuries and a half-century in those innings.
He also reflected on some of his memorable performances against Pakistan, both nervous and hilarious.
“I think my tensest moment against them was in the ICC Champions Trophy in 2009,” smiled Kohli. “Yuvi [Yuvraj Singh] fractured his finger, so I was flown in on two days’ notice to play at Centurion.
“I hadn’t experienced anything like that before and I played a very bad shot to get out for 16. I couldn’t sleep until 6 am looking at the ceiling because I thought ‘that’s it, I’ve blown it and now I’m finished’!
“But there have also been many funny moments over the years. I remember an incident during the World Cup  at Mohali. It was involving Shahid Afridi and Wahab Riaz – I was at the non-striker’s end and heard a conversation that let’s just say, I can’t elaborate on... It was a high-pressure game and it made me laugh so that sticks out,” he said.
While he is aware of all the hype around the match, Kohli won’t let one World Cup contest dictate his thought process. But the India captain accepts that it’s not fair to expect that fans would be very logical.
“I can’t tell fans to think in a particular manner. We have a professional approach to the game as we can’t get too emotional or over excited. So, mindset of the players will be different from that of fans.
“Our attention span has to be very precise on field. We have that split second to make a decision but from a fans point of view I would say that it’s not easy to think like a player,” he said.
When asked about a potential battle with Mohammed Amir, his response was firm. “I will not say anything for creating TRPs and neither would I say something that creates an exciting news point. Any bowler I face, I only see the red or white ball. Yes, I respect a bowler’s skill set. I had said the same about Kagiso Rabada,” Kohli said.
But he made it clear that the good bowlers need to be studied well.
“Whoever are impact bowlers in world cricket, you should be wary about their strengths but at the same time you should have that much self belief that you can score runs against any bowler. The result of the match will not be decided on mine or his [Amir’s] performance alone.”
With inputs from PTI and ICC