The stage is set and cricket fans around the world are ready to witness a highly anticipated ‘Battle Royale’ between Asia’s biggest giants – India and Pakistan. The pair will open their 2022 Asian Cup campaign on Sunday at the Dubai International Stadium, the same venue where they last met at the T20 World Cup last year.
Last time out, the results went in favor of Pakistan, who topped the Men In Blue in both departments of the game and secured the game by 10 wickets. However, things have changed a lot and ahead of the high octane match, Team India members – Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya – shared their thoughts before shock. A video of the same was shared by BCCI on Sunday morning and here is what they had to say:
Rohit Sharma: “We will try to be in the present. I think that in terms of preparation, we will not be short. We don’t watch the opposition at all. What we have to achieve as a group is more important than the opposition we face.”
KL Rahul: “It’s a great opportunity for us to play these games and challenge ourselves. They’ve been a good team for the last couple of years, they’ve played great cricket. Obviously it’s a high pressure game and it will continue to be.
Virat Kohli: “As a player, when you step onto the pitch, it’s any other game for you. Only the environment outside can attract you. But it’s for you to enjoy the excitement until ‘by the time you get to the park, then it’s business as usual.
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Suryakumar Yadav: “When I was growing up, there was a lot of talk between the India-Pakistan games. People say it’s the biggest rivalry, but when everyone and I go out there, it’s like we’re just playing another game. When we step onto the pitch, all of our preparations, all of our routines, what we’ve done for all the other games, it’s reflected on the pitch. So when I go to the ground, it’s the same, I just try to stay in my zone and play the game.”
Ravindra Jadeja: “Focus yeh match mein zyada rehta hai, aur hum koshish karte hain ki hum apna performance deliver karein. Jitna ho sake utna acha khelne ki koshish kar sake (The focus is on this game and we’re trying to deliver, trying to maximize our performance.)”
Rishabh pants: “Yeh humesha ek hype-up match hota hain all the time but as a player humlog bus ek hi cheez try karte hain ki apna 100 percent match mein, kyunki pressure chest hota hain India-Pakistan k match mein, waiting chest sari badh jati hain (The hype has always been there, but as a player our goal is to give 100% because the pressure is always there during the India v Pakistan games and the expectations are always higher.)”
Hardik Pandya: “The hype is there on the outside, which we all understand as emotions attached to the game, and also attached to this game2. Also, we have to make sure that we keep the outside noise outside and make sure that we should focus on the things we should focus on.