In­dia out ‘to en­joy’ after money row

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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).

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

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 (RM1.2 bil­lion) 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 all­rounder said.

The BBCI are seek­ing a bet­ter deal be­fore the ICC rat­ify the new struc­ture at their an­nual con­fer­ence next month.

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 three­match 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 Sun­day. AFP

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