|| AFP ||
This week's multi-million-dollar Indian Premier League auction will not distract India's players from the T20 internationals against the West Indies, captain Rohit Sharma said Tuesday.
The big-ticket auction over the weekend saw India's Ishan Kishan fetch top price, with Mumbai Indians securing his services for a whopping $2 million.
Paceman Harshal Patel, who like Kishan is in the India squad taking on West Indies, was signed by Royal Challengers Bangalore for over a million dollars.
Other up and coming squad members were also lapped up at eye-popping prices, including Shreyas Iyer ($1.6 million) and Deepak Chahar ($1.8 million).
Sharma said he had asked the players to focus on the three-match series beginning at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday.
They will have gone through "ups and downs" at the auction, he told a virtual press conference ahead of the T20 series.
"It is an emotional feeling which team you are going to play for and all," he said.
"Yesterday I had a great meeting with the boys, I asked them to focus on the colour blue, which is most important," he added, referring to India's one-day uniform.
"All these guys are professionals, once they are in India colours nothing else matters."
The IPL -- the world's most lucrative cricket tournament -- should not overshadow international commitments, the 34-year-old said, adding they play in the competition for just two months in a year, compared to 10 months for India.
"So I just want to focus on what we do for Team India and that's what matters."
The Indian captain sprung to the defence of star batsman Virat Kohli who has been going through a lean patch with the bat.
"He is in a great mental space from whatever I see of him. He has been part of this international team for more than a decade.
"If someone has spent that much time in international cricket, they know how to handle the pressure situations, the environment, everything."
He blamed the media for Kohli's performance, telling reporters: "If you guys can keep it quiet for a bit, then everything will fall into place."
The second T20 will be played on Friday followed by the third and final game on Sunday.