Kohli: We want to be consistent and we want to be professional

India skipper Virat Kohli says his team are not thinking about whether they are underdogs or favourites in the series against England.

Kohli said that rating the team’s chances was up to the media and really shouldn’t enter into player’s thinking for either side.

The fastidious India leader insists on strict standards of professionalism within teams under his leadership and doesn’t want to see his players dragged into any sideshows or getting sucked into an believing an unhelpful narrative.

Speaking ahead of the first Test against England in Birmingham Kohli said: “It doesn’t matter for us, whether you are a favourite or an underdog you still have to go out there and perform well on the field.

“If you’re an underdog it isn’t a given that the pressure will be on the opposition and if you are favourites it is not certain that the underdogs will come out and be fearless the whole time.

“I think it is a balance that is required, we have played enough cricket at this level to understand that these are things that happen on the outside. As a professional cricketer you have to go out there and execute what you were picked for.”

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Kohli maintained that staying focused on executing their skills will be critical for India at all times with Test matches prone to swing quickly away from teams who ease off when in control.

He added: “Whether you are favourite or underdog those things are just in your head so we don’t think about that, we think about what we need to execute.

“Especially in Test cricket which is such a long game with opportunities to come back so even when things are going in your favour you have to remain focused at all times because you know they can get into the game at any stage. It only takes an hour to turn the whole game.

“You need professionalism more than thinking about being an underdog or a favourite.

“That’s something we want to do as a team, we want to be consistent and we want to be professional.”

The first Test between India and England gets underway at Edgbaston on Wednesday August 1.