London: India skipper Virat Kohli admitted on Saturday that he is steering clear of social media ahead of Sunday’s high-profile Champions Trophy final against bitter rivals Pakistan. Kohli, one of the superstars of world cricket, commands almost 16 million followers on Twitter and 14 million on Instagram. However, he is aware of the potential pitfalls of social media when India tackle Pakistan in cricket. “The biggest thing is to stay off social media," Kohli said at the Oval on the eve of the big game.
“If you’re too distracted listening to too many suggestions or players or criticism, then you can’t 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. The more relaxed you stay in these situations it’s a good thing, because it helps you take better decisions when you are composed and calm mentally."
Kohli’s own performances in the Champions Trophy has seen him return to the top of the one-day international batting rankings. His four innings, including three not outs, have left him with a colossal tournament batting average of 253 heading into the final. This week also saw the 28-year-old Kohli become the fastest man to score 8,000 ODI runs, reaching the landmark in 175 innings — seven fewer than South Africa star AB de Villiers’s 182. Kohli already has 27 ODI centuries to his name, with a career strike-rate in excess of 91, and such has been the passionate drive with which he has led India that his fortunes and those of the team as a whole now seem indivisible.
Meanwhile Kohli played down the importance of a group win against a Pakistan side who have since defeated top-ranked South Africa and Sri Lanka in pool play before thrashing previously unbeaten tournament hosts England by eight wickets in the semi-finals. “On their day they can beat any side in the world," said Kohli of Pakistan. “That’s the kind of players they have, we’re quite aware of that," added Kohli, with India hammering Bangladesh by nine wickets in Thursday’s second semi-final at Edgbaston.