Ahead of the much-anticipated India-Pakistan clash in the Asia Cup, legendary batsman Kumar Sangakkara gave some words of wisdom to Pakistani players.
Neither of the two teams could afford to lose this fixture. Players in both teams routinely face intense pressure to win and sometimes face extreme reactions in defeat. Indo-Pakistan cricket matches are some of the most watched television broadcasts in both countries. The 2011 Cricket World Cup semi-final attracted an average audience of nearly 135 million in India alone. So one can easily assume the pressure on the players when they come out to play this fixture.
In recent times, India have earned the bragging rights of this fixture especially in ICC tournaments. The Men in Blue have never lost to Pakistan in a World Cup. The two-time World Cup winners have won all the 6 games in a 50-over World Cup against Pakistan. In World T20, India won 4 of the 5 games while one ended in a tie which India went on to win. India has dominated their neighbours in the Asia Cup too, winning 7 of the 12 games.
And ahead of another blockbuster clash against their arch-rivals, the Pakistani players sought some advise from Kumar Sangakkara. The former Sri Lanka skipper, in reply, told the players to stay calm and not let their nerves get the better of themselves.
Stay calm and control your nerves!@KumarSanga2 message for @babarazam258 and @shinwarii3 ahead of the #INDvPAK #AsiaCup2108 clash. The power of the PSL bond! #HarSaansMeinBolo pic.twitter.com/AMaADBjG2b
— PakistanSuperLeague (@thePSLt20) September 17, 2018
Pakistan, meanwhile, will take heart from the way their last meeting against their neighbours took place. The Men in Green thrashed India to win the Champions Trophy final last year. Sarfraz Ahmed & Co. are also entering the game high on confidence. They performed exceedingly well in Zimbabwe and won their Asia Cup-opener against Hong Kong by 8 wickets. The familiar conditions of UAE will also help them.
On the other hand, Rohit Sharma & Co.will take on Pakistan on the very next day after playing Hong Kong on September 18. The Men in Blue are entering the contest without their talismanic skipper Virat Kohli which can make Pakistan’s task easier.