Indian captain Virat Kohli is keeping a laser-like focus on his own team and insists that it is England who need to adjust themselves in order to keep their hopes alive of making it to the semi-finals of the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup.
The two teams will meet at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham on Sunday, with India attempting to preserve their unbeaten start to the tournament and secure a semi-final spot.
Defeat for England would put their own last four prospects in jeopardy, following back-to-back losses against Sri Lanka and Australia.
The hosts began the tournament as the top-ranked ODI side in the world – a title now taken by India – and Kohli admits he did not expect them to struggle in home conditions.
“Everyone is a bit surprised. We thought England would probably dominate in their own conditions but, as I said at the beginning of the tournament, pressure is going to be a factor and low scores are going to be defended. I said that because I have played at two World Cups and all the teams are very strong. Anyone can beat anyone and we got a scare from Afghanistan, so you can’t take anything for granted," the ICC press release quoted Kohli as saying.
“We will see what happens. The other teams have outplayed England on occasions and although we have not lost a game, we cannot be complacent. The reason we have won every game is that we have been professional and precise under pressure. It is surprising but I expected something like that in the World Cup because teams come under pressure," he added.
“Maybe the pressure has told, maybe it hasn’t. It’s for them to assess now," the Indian skipper added.
India’s progress has been serene so far, with five wins from six matches placing them second in the table while their match with New Zealand fell foul of the weather.
Kohli has struck four consecutive fifties and played a key role in India’s impressive form with the bat but it’s their bowlers facing England’s explosive batsmen which really gets the mouth watering on Sunday.
Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have taken regular wickets and bowled economically, while Jasprit Bumrah has proven why he is the number one ranked ODI bowler despite taking just nine wickets.
Mohammed Shami, back in the side in place of the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar, has also made an immediate impact by taking a hat-trick against Afghanistan – presenting Kohli with a selection headache as Kumar nears fitness.
“Bhuvi has been a world class bowler for years now and has been a consistent player for us in the shorter formats. Shami, in the last year and a half has come around amazingly well," Kohli said.
"I have never seen him fitter, more hungry and he is getting wickets. In our last game [against West Indies], the way he was bowling with the new ball on a pitch that was dry was amazing. He has that hunger within him and he is bowler very well. Bhuvi is recovering very fast. When he gets fit, it will be headache for us. But we will take the best one for the team at that moment and everyone will understand," he continued.
“Sometimes in cricket this happens because of injuries and niggles. All I can say is that at the moment, I am very happy with the way Shami is bowling. Bumrah is different because he is separating himself from everyone else," the Indian captain signed off.
India are currently standing at the second spot in the ICC World Cup 2019 Points Table with five wins from six matches they have played so far. Their clash against New Zealand was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to incessant rain.