Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has urged his side not to dwell on their Champions Trophy victory over India or let the pressure of the highly-anticipated affair get to them.
India and Pakistan will go head to head in the Asia Cup on Wednesday in Dubai, and Sarfraz is well aware of the hype that builds around any game involving the two nations.
Pakistan beat India in their last meeting at Champions Trophy final in 2017, where the men in green crushed their arch-rivals by 180 runs.
However, Sarfraz pointed out that the Asia Cup fixture will be a new game where either side can come out on top.
“The Champions Trophy win is history. Don’t look too much into it,” he was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “It’s in the past now. Obviously, it was a great win and we have good memories that will be with us forever, but this is a new game, a new event. The atmosphere has changed, we have winning momentum [from the game against Hong Kong] which we want to carry forward.”
It is rumoured that former Pakistan captain and current Prime Minister Imran Khan, who led the national team to World Cup glory in 1992, will be in attendance for the match.
Even if this is the case, Sarfraz called on his side to not let the pressure of the game affect their performance.
“We’ll try to take the game as a normal game. I’ve told the players to play the match in the same manner as we do normally,” Sarfraz said. “The fans say that whatever happens you have to win, but as a captain, I have to win against every team. It would be the same for India too. Yes, their [fans’] wishes give us inspiration. In the past, it has happened that whoever performs in the [India-Pakistan] match becomes a hero.”
Sarfraz also made it clear that he won’t be underestimating India, even though they won’t have the services of captain Virat Kohli, who has been rested for the tournament.
“As far as India is concerned, Kohli is their captain for the last two years or so, so as a team it [playing under someone else] is different for them,” he said. “I don’t know what Rohit’s thinking as captain is, whether he takes the same strategy. [Kohli] is a world-class player, but they have got some very good players and have done well in the past.”