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Champions Trophy 2017: Challenge is to Not Think About Defending Title, Says Virat Kohli

Updated: May 28, 2017, 3:17 PM IST
Champions Trophy 2017: Challenge is to Not Think About Defending Title, Says Virat Kohli

File image of Indian cricketers celebrating their Champions Trophy win. (Getty Images)

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New Delhi: Virat Kohli says India will go out "to enjoy" their cricket as they aim to defend their Champions Trophy crown against the backdrop of a row over money with the international board.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) backed out of a threat to boycott the 50-over tournament in a revenue-sharing dispute with the International Cricket Council (ICC).

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But they only named a squad two weeks after the original deadline for the tournament which starts on June 1.

Kohli said the team were determined to keep their hunger for success.

"The hunger to win and ruthlessness is what we speak about all the time," Kohli told reporters before India left for England.

"The first challenge is to not think about that you are defending the title. When we went out there the last time we just wanted to enjoy," said Kohli.

"We were a young unit. We ended up winning the tournament and creating a team which has done so well so far."

The BCCI are angry at the new ICC revenue model agreed last month that reduced the powers of cricket's "Big Three" -- Australia, England and India.

The BCCI believes it will lose $277 million in revenue over the next eight years.

Former India captain Kapil Dev said he hoped the row would not affect performances on the field.

"I hope all this talk doesn't impact the players. But today, media putting so much focus on everything it must be having some effect on them when they read and see the news," Kapil, the 1983 World Cup winning captain, said.

"As a sportsman I just want to be bothered about cricket on the field.

"Whatever happens otherwise, let the administrators take care of that," the legendary all-rounder said.

The BCCI are seeking a better deal before the ICC ratifies the new structure at its annual conference next month.

"See, we are just trying to get the board its rightful share," a senior board official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "But trust me the revenue matter had nothing to do with the Champions Trophy.

"We work for the best interest of the players and our wishes are with them to defend the title and play the brand of cricket that they have been playing."

India, who beat England in the 2013 Champions Trophy final, are on a roll, winning 10 of the 13 Tests played against New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia in a marathon home season.

The side also won their three-match one-day series against England 2-1 and most of their players have just been involved in the high-octane Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament.

India are in Group B along with South Africa and Sri Lanka and start their campaign with a mouth-watering clash against fierce rivals Pakistan at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on June 4.

First Published: May 28, 2017, 10:31 AM IST
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