Skipper MS Dhoni makes it clear he is not a sucker for numbers and records even as the focus will be on India continuing their 5-0 World Cup reign over arch-rivals Pakistan in the high-voltage clash today
Adelaide: The Indian and Pakistani teams have changed since the two met in a World Cup match that India won four years ago in Mohali.
That’s the reason both, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his Pakistani counterpart Misbah-ul-Haq, were wary at Saturday’s pre-match press conference of making tall claims regarding the outcome of today’s World Cup encounter at the Adelaide Oval.
“Statistics don’t matter here,” said Dhoni while answering a question on whether India are looking to continue their 5-0 reign over their arch-rivals in World Cups. The India captain admitted that the game will be intense, but assured that his team is more than up for the challenge.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni bats in the nets ahead of India’s World Cup opening clash against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday. Pic/AFP
“There will surely be more intensity because it’s against Pakistan and so many people will be watching. But the good thing is that most of our players have played in high pressure matches in front of big crowds back home and abroad so they can handle the pressure,” said Dhoni.
Speaking of the team’s dismal Australia tour till date apart from the win against Afghanistan in the World Cup warm-up match, Dhoni chose to see the lighter side of it. “Why should we set aside the Afghanistan game,” he asked even as the scribes broke into a giggle.
He continued: “It’s time for us to forget the past because if we live in the past then the burden of pressure will not let you function at all. We have been here long enough to get used to the conditions. The break before the World Cup has helped us too. I can say that all 15 players are fit… unless something happens between now and tomorrow,” he added even as the media cracked up again.
Pakistan eyeing history
Misbah, meanwhile, was intense during his interaction. “This Pakistan team has a chance to create history,” said Misbah again referring to his team’s winless World Cup record to the Indians. “A match against India is always going to be a high-pressure game but the best thing to do is to not take any burden on your shoulders when you go out there in the middle,” said Misbah.
The captains’ comments notwithstanding, the fans from both countries are viciously vocal and confident of their respective team’s chances of winning the Big one today.
Around 200 odd fans gathered at the entrance of the Adelaide Oval on Saturday, screaming their guts out in the intense 42 degree heat. “Jeetega bhai jeetega, Pakistan jeetega,” screamed a group dressed in green.
The much bigger Indian group however, was comparatively relaxed. “Aaj tak to nahi jeet paya Pakistan, toh kal kya jeetengay,” said an Indian fan, even as the Pakistanis promised revenge tomorrow.
Misbah aptly summed up the mood in both teams. “You need to just shut out whatever’s happening outside the ground and in the two countries. That’s my advice to the youngsters in this big match,” he said.
India vs Pakistan on Star Sports 1, 3, HD 1, HD 3 & DD National, 09:00